April 11, 2013
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster today asked a federal court to amend its order striking down portions of SB749 to maintain the right of religious employers to exclude contraceptive coverage if they are also exempt under federal law and to allow Missouri insurance carriers to provide such coverage to religious employers. Additionally, Koster stated he would not appeal the court’s ruling that other employers in Missouri must provide contraceptive coverage as part of their employer-provided healthcare plans.
“The Republicans’ attempt to deny contraceptive coverage to women in Missouri is just plain foolishness,” said Koster. “The Republican effort to deny contraceptive coverage cannot be supported by case law or sound public policy.”
The federal case was brought by insurance carriers caught between a federal law requiring the inclusion of contraceptive coverage in federally regulated healthcare plans and a state law exempting insurance carriers, businesses, and individuals claiming a moral, ethical, or religious objection to contraception. U.S. District Judge Audrey Fleissig found the state law conflicted with the federal mandate that all insurance carriers provide coverage for contraception. The Court ruled that under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, federal law preempts conflicting state law.
While acknowledging the supremacy of federal law as it applies to the majority of Missouri employers, Koster today asked the court to clarify its ruling so that federal exemptions applicable to religious employers, such as the Archdiocese of St. Louis, remain in effect.