April 2, 2012 — The Missouri Senate on Thursday approved a bill (SB 749) that would permit employers to refuse to cover birth control unless it is for non-contraceptive purposes, the AP/Springfield News-Leader reports.
Under the Senate bill, sponsored by Sen. John Lamping (R), employers who refused to offer contraceptive coverage would have to cover sterilization procedures if they were medically necessary or if an employee wished to be sterilized to prevent passing on a genetic disease. Lamping said that he created the bill in response to the federal contraceptive coverage rules.
Supporters of the bill said it is an issue of religious freedom, rather than a debate over women's reproductive health care. Opponents said that supporters' intent is to make it harder for women to obtain birth control (Duplaintier, AP/Springfield News-Leader, 3/30).