tuesday, 19 march of 2013

US: Federal judge blocks Missouri birth control law


Federal judge blocks Missouri birth control law

A federal judge on Thursday struck down a Missouri health insurance law that required insurers to issue policies without contraception coverage if individuals or employers objected for religious or moral reasons. Judge Audrey Fleissig for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri ruled that the law conflicts with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and that federal law takes precedence over conflicting state laws. The PPACA required insurers to cover birth control at no additional cost to women. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the bill in July, but Missouri's legislature overrode the veto in September. SB 749 was intended to rebuff a policy by the Obama administration that requires insurers to cover birth control for women. Fleissig's ruling makes the temporary restraining order she issued in December permanent.

The reproductive rights controversy has been ongoing. In September the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit narrowed the scope on a preliminary injunction against a 1972 Idaho law that makes it a felony to end one's own pregnancy. In August the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld Louisiana's Act 490, which allows the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) to revoke an abortion clinic's license immediately after a regulation violation, rather than allowing the abortion clinic time to comply with the regulation. In July a federal judge blocked a Mississippi law that would have effectively shut down the state's only abortion clinic. In May Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill allowing pharmacists to refuse to dispense drugs that they "reasonably believe" might result in the termination of a pregnancy.

(Published by Jurist - March 18, 2013)

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