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Federal judge blocks Missouri birth control coverage law

A judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri [official website] on Friday blocked a Missouri law which prohibits mandatory insurance coverage of birth control for any employers with ethical or religious objections, finding that the state law conflicts with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) [text; JURIST backgrounder]. The Missouri Insurance Coalition sought to have the state law blocked, arguing that it is invalid because it conflicts with federal law. With the law blocked [AP report], state insurance companies can still approve laws with an exemption for contraceptives but may not reject policies that lack this exemption. A hearing for a preliminary injunction will be set for a later date.

The bill [SB 749 materials], which became law after the Republican led state legislature override a veto [JURIST report] by Governor Jay Nixon [official website], was introduced [Reuters report] in the Missouri legislature in response to the PPACA. The Senate voted 26-6 to override the veto, while the House narrowly secured the required endorsements, voting 109-45. Representative Sandy Crawford supported the override, saying the bill "protects religious liberties and prohibits businesses from being forced to provide abortions."

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