With one week remaining in the 2012 session of the Missouri General Assembly, SB 749--the religious liberty bill--has still not been taken up and debated by the Missouri House. The session ends next Friday, May 18.
Senator John Lamping (R-St. Louis County) introduced SB 749 to counteract a federal mandate issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that forces people to pay for contraceptives (including abortion-inducing drugs) and sterilizations in their health insurance plans, even if this violates their moral or religious convictions.
The insurance and abortion industries have used delaying tactics and gutting amendments to try to kill SB 749.
In addition to the conscience coercion in the HHS mandate, current state law does not allow individuals to opt out of insurance plans purchased by their employer that cover surgical abortions.
The MCC is seeking to pass a strong version of SB 749 that will: counteract the conscience coercion in the HHS mandate; and require health insurance carriers to write plans that exclude surgical abortions, abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilizations when these items violate the individual's moral and religious convictions.
As part of the effort to ensure passage of a strong SB 749, when the bill comes to the House floor for debate, State Representative Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City) will offer an amendment that will:
- Make sure consumers know if coverage for surgical abortions was added to their health insurance plans;
- Allow individuals to exclude surgical abortions from their plans; and,
- Require the Missouri Department of Insurance to enforce the new law.