For more trusted health
news and information,
visit CBS St. Louis's
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX) - Missouri representatives approved a measure that would allow health care providers to refuse to participate in certain medical practices that violate their ethical or religious beliefs.
Supporters of the bill say that it protects the conscious rights of physicians and health care providers, as well as their religious freedoms since it prohibits these providers from punishment if they do not provide certain medical services, such as contraception or abortion.
House Floor Leader Tim Jones, R-St. Louis County, said the bill was a response to the “onerous” federal health care mandate that was signed into law in 2010. That law is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“This bill protects some of our most fundamental religious rights,” Jones said.
Opponents of the bill state, however, that the measure would restrict access to certain types of health care. Rep. Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis County, said the bill “affects only health decision that women make” and that it was perpetuating the war on women.
“This bill is specifically about limiting access to birth control, which has been extremely popular since 1960,” Newman said while speaking to Rep. Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City, who also spoke against the bill.
The bill’s handler in the House, Rep. Sandy Crawford, R-Dallas, said she was not fighting a war against women and that she would be “appalled” if she had to conduct some of the practices she said health care providers were forced to participate in.
The measure also states that health care providers do not have to obtain medical insurance to cover practices that violate their religious beliefs and that pharmacies cannot be mandated to supply certain medications or devices.
The House passed the measure with a 117-37 vote Wednesday and sent it back to the Senate. The bill’s original sponsor, Sen. John Lamping, R-St. Louis County, requested the House and Senate go to conference over the bill because he felt the House changes “watered down” the original bill.