It’s been a busy week for Republicans. There was the patriotic chest-puffing contest that happens every September 11th. Then, the crisis in Libya opened up a perfect opportunity to shamelessly attack the president.
But don’t feel neglected if you have a uterus – there are plenty of conservatives in government gunning for you.
In Missouri, home of esteemed human biologist Todd Akin, state legislators passed a law in direct defiance of the 2011 HHS mandate. That addition to the 2009 Affordable Care Act determined that birth control was a necessary preventable health service, and must be covered by all insurance policies. The legislation allows any individual, insurer, or employer – even those not explicitly connected to religious organizations, which are exempt from these requirements – to refuse to purchase insurance policies that include birth control on the basis of religious objections. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon initially vetoed the bill, but the legislature just barely scraped together the two-thirds vote needed to override the veto.
Whether or not this law will make any difference in Missouri remains to be seen. The Affordable Care Act was held up in the Supreme Court after the birth control mandate was a part of it; presumably a lawsuit brought against Missouri by the federal government would instantly strike down this law – and the 2001 law it reaffirms.
Missouri has a long history of attacks on reproductive rights. The state has filed multiple challenges to Roe v. Wade, and defunded Planned Parenthood in the early ’90s. When the Supreme Court ruled that unconstitutional, Missouri opted to discontinue its family planning program altogether rather than reinstated funding to the organization. 97% of counties in Missouri have no abortion provider; there are only six abortion providers in the entire state. Given this extensive history, the state’s decision to allow employers and insurers to block basic health care on the basis of personal morality may be paternalistic and offensive, but it’s not exactly surprising.
The one bright spot in all of this? Democratic Senator Jolie Justus apparently allowed this legislation to come to a vote on the condition that state legislators not introduce any more bills on abortion for the remainder of 2012. Hopefully that agreement will be honored, keeping Missouri uteruses safe for the second half of the year.
More Stories About Reproductive Rights
- Michigan Pushes Horrifying Fetal Remains Bill
- The Politics of the Female Vote
- The 5 Most Ridiculous Reactions to Free Birth Control
- Sex, Lies, and Limbaugh
- 3 Republican Lies About the Birth Control Mandate
- Your Birth Control Is Now Free – Thanks, Obamacare!
- Todd Akin Makes Ridiculous Rape Remarks…And He’s Not The First
- Paul Ryan: Rape Is Just Another Method of Conception