March 31, 2012
By Stephen D. Foster Jr.
Missouri is now the top contender for the title of most insane and most anti-women conservative state in America. On Thursday, Missouri Senate and House Republicans passed two bills that could cripple women’s access to abortion and contraception. One bill allows employers to deny coverage for contraception and abortion services for religious reasons and the other bill gives doctors, nurses, and pharmacists the same power.
According to St. Louis Today:
“The Senate passed a bill that would let employers deny health insurance coverage for birth control for employees who cannot prove a medical need for it.” On the same day, the House “passed a bill that would shield health care workers from participating in anything that conflicts with their conscience.”
In other words, an employer can grill a woman about why she needs contraception, and if she doesn’t give a satisfactory reason, it won’t be covered. And if a woman needs an emergency abortion or is raped and needs an abortion, the medical staff can refuse to help her.
Republican Senator John Lamping and House Republican Tim Jones are the sponsors of the bills. Lamping says “employers today have the right to offer whatever benefits they want,” and that his bill would somehow exempt employers from the new health care laws found in the Affordable Care Act and the new contraception coverage rules set forth by the Obama Administration. Meanwhile, Jones says his legislation is about religious freedom and not the reproductive rights of women.
Jones and Lamping are damned liars. These bills are all about denying women rights over their reproductive health. Lamping’s bill gives employers free reign over what women are doing in their private sex lives. Employers have no right to interfere in what a female employee does with her own body. How exactly is an employee supposed to know if a woman is telling the truth about what the contraceptives are for? Demand a doctor note? Have access to medical records? And what happens if the female employee is lying to protect her own privacy? Will she be wrongly fired for making her own decisions regarding her uterus? That’s exactly why this bill is dangerous. Employers have no right to know what a woman does with her sex organs. It violates the privacy and personal liberty of women and doctor/patient confidentiality.
Jones’ bill is just as dangerous and perhaps even more so. Not only could this bill allow doctors and pharmacists to deny women contraception, it allows doctors and nurses to refuse medical care to women who need an abortion. So if a woman needs an emergency abortion because of a life threatening ectopic pregnancy, medical personnel can turn their collective backs on her while precious time is wasted that could be used to save her life. This bill is a ‘Let Women Die’ bill and Jones knows it.
These bills are being passed under the excuse of religious freedom, but this is clearly not about religious freedom. It’s about eliminating women’s rights and destroying privacy and personal liberty. It’s about the conservative hatred of independent women who make their own choices without the permission of men. Republicans are disgracing Missouri and if these two bills actually become law, the state should henceforth be known among women as ‘Misery’.