By Dave Andrusko
In a vote as close it could possibly be, the Missouri legislature yesterday overrode Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of SB 749, a bill that allows individual and group insurance consumers to opt out of paying for coverage, such as coverage for abortion, that violates their moral or religious convictions.
The vote to override in the Senate comfortably met the two-thirds requirement– 26 to 6. But the House vote was 109-45, exactly the number needed to override Nixon’s veto. It was only the 24th veto override in the state’s history.
“We thank the Missouri legislators who voted to override the veto and take a stand for the protection of our religious liberties and for the innocent human lives that are at risk due to the Obama Health Care bill and the HHS mandate,” said Pam Fichter, President of Missouri Right to Life.
“This is a victory for Catholics, people of all faiths, and more specifically, Missouri citizens who value religious liberty,” the Archdiocese of St. Louis said in a statement. “Today’s override is a powerful pro-life statement, one that gives us hope that conscience rights will be extended to all U.S. citizens.”
As widely anticipated, within hours of the successful override vote, the Greater Kansas City Coalition of Labor Union Women filed a lawsuit against the state of Missouri and Attorney General Chris Koster asking a judge to throw the law on the grounds that it conflicts with federal law—the Obama mandate.
Gov. Nixon argues there were adequate existing protections already in law. Sen. John Lamping said Nixon was wrong.
Rudi Keller of the Columbia Daily Tribune wrote that Lamping said current law is not strong enough, “and employees, employers and insurance companies need protection against new federal mandates requiring that birth control and contraceptive coverage be included in all health plans.”
Lamping added the bill does not to restrict access. “This bill makes clear that you can’t force someone who disagrees with you to pay for those services,” he said.
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