Monthly MONITOR

Tuesday, June 19, 2012  

GOVERNOR NIXON, SEND MISSOURI WOMEN A MESSAGE OF SUPPORT

     Governor Jay Nixon has until July 14 to veto SB749 or allow the Birth Control Restriction bill—passed by the legislature on the last day of session—to become law. This bill would allow ANY employer—not simply religiously-affiliated employers—to take away insurance coverage of birth control and sterilization from their health plans simply because it goes against their ‘religious belief’ or ‘moral conviction.’  Evidently, the employee’s beliefs or convictions and health needs don’t matter.

     The author and sponsors of this bill say they are ‘sending a message’ to Washington DC—to the White House in particular—that these anti-family planning ideologues do not like the prevention provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

     The Affordable Care Act is the greatest advance in women’s health in a generation, providing numerous benefits for women’s health, including access to birth control and cancer screenings without co-pays, guaranteeing women direct access to OB/GYN providers without referrals, and ending discriminatory practices against women, such as charging women higher premiums and denying coverage for “pre-existing conditions.” More than 45 million women have already received coverage for preventive health screenings – including mammograms and Pap tests – at no additional cost since August 2010, and millions more women will be able to get screenings without co-pays in the coming years if this law remains intact.

     As the nation’s leading women’s health care provider and advocate, Planned Parenthood stands firmly alongside women, families, and patients across this country whose access to affordable, quality health care is transformed by the Affordable Care Act.  The AFL-CIO, NCJW, NARAL, Women’s Voices, Faith Aloud, Sierra Club, Pro-Vote, Progress Missouri and others have sent emails to their supporters urging them to call on the Governor for a veto.

     PPMO says: “Governor Nixon, stand up for Missouri women and families and veto SB749!”

WHO DECIDES ABOUT YOUR HEALTH CARE: YOU OR YOUR BOSS?

Member Communication from the AFL-CIO | June 13 2012

     Right before the 2012 Legislative Session ended, Missouri politicians pushed through SB749 - the Birth Control Refusal Bill. It would allow bosses to deny workers access to birth control and other basic health care services. Governor Nixon can stop this power grab with a veto of SB749.

     Allowing employers to dictate the quality of women’s health care is wrong for Missouri. We urge Governor Nixon to veto this anti-worker legislation so that women and men can continue to have access to health care, not determined by political agendas. [Sample letter below]

Governor Nixon,

     I'm writing to urge you to veto SB749.  Working people should have the right to make health care decisions based on their own religious beliefs and moral convictions, not those of their employer.

     When other anti-worker and divisive legislation was pushed through this year, including the attempt to roll-back protections against workplace discrimination, you stood up for working people. Now we are counting on you to stand up for working Missourians against another extreme, anti-worker bill - SB749.

     Thank you.

THOUSANDS EMAIL GOVERNOR ABOUT MISSOURI CONTRACEPTION BILL

Chris Blank | The Kansas City Star | June 16, 2012

     Gov. Jay Nixon has been inundated with nearly 5,000 online messages, emails and letters as he mulls what to do with a politically thorny bill injecting Missouri into the national debate over insurance coverage for contraception.

     The Republican-led Legislature sent the Democratic governor a bill saying no employer or health plan provider can be compelled to provide coverage for contraception, sterilization or abortion if those items run contrary to their religious or moral convictions. The bill would allow the attorney general to sue government officials or others who infringe on the rights granted in the measure.

     Nixon's office has received more than 4,700 messages – more than any on other bill this year – urging him to sign or veto the legislation. The number of veto pleas appeared roughly double that of signature requests in a stack of 3,100 messages provided to The Associated Press under a records request. […]

    Opponents of the legislation sent nearly 1,000 messages from May 18 through June 6 that appeared to be based upon a model from the Missouri Sierra Club. The emails asked Nixon to veto the health insurance bill while noting the environmental group's support for access to family planning services and information. Chapter director John Hickey said the response from the organization's members has been the largest for any state issue. Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri also have urged supporters to ask Nixon to veto the legislation. […]

    Controversy about health insurance coverage exploded this year when President Barack Obama's administration tried to require religious nonprofits serving the public to cover birth control through employee health plans. After a backlash, the policy was modified to require insurers, not religious employers, to bear responsibility for covering contraception. […] For full article, go HERE

GOV. NIXON SHOULD VETO BILL THAT WOULD HARM WOMEN'S HEALTH

St. Louis Post Dispatch | June 8, 2012 | Darien Arnstein, St. Louis County | State Policy Advocacy Chair, National Council of Jewish Women—St. Louis Section

     The 2,000 members and supporters of the National Council of Jewish Women in Missouri are urging Gov. Jay Nixon to veto Senate Bill 749, legislation that would restrict women's access to the full range of reproductive health care services, including birth control, by allowing any employer with "moral objections" to deny this coverage in its health insurance plans. Our Legislature seems committed to restricting every woman's access to reproductive health care. The impact of these restrictions on women and families would be devastating, harming women's health and eroding their religious liberty.

     SB749 would deny women access to basic preventive services and other critical health care. Access to affordable contraception is one of the most important factors in preventing unintended pregnancies, something we all support. More than 98 percent of sexually active women have used birth control at some point, and contraception has been a legal part of basic health care for more than 50 years.

    Further, while each of us has a right to hold his own religious beliefs, no one has the right to impose his beliefs on others. Yet SB749 would allow any employer to do just that — meaning that a worker would be denied her right to follow her own faith and conscience when making health care decisions. Women must not be forced to give up their individual religious freedom because of the jobs they hold. SB 749 will endanger women's health and violate their religious liberty. We urge Mr. Nixon to veto this dangerous legislation and, instead, support policies that expand women's access to the full range of reproductive health care services.

POLITICAL ISSUE, NOT LIBERTY

St. Louis Post Dispatch | Letter to the Editor | June 14, 2012 | Ginny Kiernan Dahlberg • Belleville

     I was raised Roman Catholic and educated in Roman Catholic institutions through my doctorate in theology from a Jesuit university. I know that the issue of insurance coverage for contraceptives is a political issue, not one of religious liberty. The existence of coverage does not require or compel an individual employee to use it; that remains a personal decision. It does not suggest that those who own the company or institution sanction or promote such use, it merely reflects their duty to provide adequate health care for all employees without discrimination on the basis of religion. The Roman Catholic Church remains free to teach all matters of faith and morals to its members, and the bishops and the people remain free to worship according to church beliefs and practices. The bishops have full religious liberty.

     The bishops have a right to disseminate Roman Catholic teaching, indeed it is their role. They cannot, and ought not, take on the role of enforcing that teaching with Roman Catholic employees, let alone imposing it on those who have a different (or no) religious affiliation. Roman Catholic employees must make their own personal decision of conscience whether to use such coverage. Morality and ethical guidelines most certainly pertain to corporations and institutions; conscience is restricted to moral agents (human beings). Just as a company or institution sponsored by Jehovah's Witnesses may not exclude transfusions or vaccinations from insurance coverage, and that is a teaching accepted by the vast majority of its members, a company or institution sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church may not exclude contraception, a teaching that is rejected by a majority of members.

www.ppmissouri.org | FB: PPMO Advocates | @PPMO_Advocates