Two bills would protect 'objectors'

Missouri lawmakers should pass two bills aimed at protecting people who object to certain government or health care mandates, state senators were told Tuesday.

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And the members of the Small Business, Insurance and Industry Committee endorsed Sen. John Lamping’s bill to protect employers, health plan and health care providers from being required to provide coverage for abortion, contraception, or sterilization, if they have religious or moral objections to that coverage.

“It’s the best that Missouri can do to reaffirm our First Amendment rights, as well as reinstate the conscience clause (into law),” Lamping, R-Ladue, said after the hearing on his bill. “Obviously, the fix has to come at the federal level.”

The committee also heard, but didn’t act on Sen. Scott Rupp’s bill to provide medical freedom of conscience protection for medical professionals and health care institutions, so they can’t be forced to perform procedures or services they oppose.

Most of the public’s attention has been focused on Lamping’s bill, prompted by the Obama administration’s requirement that all health care plans cover contraceptive services under the “Affordable Care Act.”

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