Mo. state sen. opposes federal birth control rule

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri state senator says religious groups should not have to pay for birth control or abortions for their employees if that would violate their beliefs.

Scott Rupp, a Wentzville Republican, introduced a measure Tuesday to amend the state’s constitution and forbid state laws or rules that force an individual, employer or health care provider to cover the costs of birth control or abortions.

The measure comes as the Obama administration is in negotiations with religious groups over a federal rule related to the 2009 health care overhaul. The rule requires religious schools and hospitals to provide employees with access to free birth control.

Catholic groups have said that rule violates their religious belief against contraception.

If approved by lawmakers, Rupp’s proposed amendment would go before Missouri voters in November.

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