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A Reminder We Didn't Need from Missouri: Women's Health is Under Attack

Elissa Berger,
Advocacy and Policy Counsel,
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September 13, 2012

Do we need another reminder about how state legislatures are a key battleground for women’s health? Or about how so many politicians are out of touch? We do not. But we got one anyway.

Yesterday, the Missouri legislature voted to override Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of SB 749, a bill that aims to undermine a woman’s access to comprehensive health care. SB 749 attempts to allow employers to refuse to provide contraception coverage to their employees, despite the new federal rule that prevents such discrimination against women and the health care benefits they need.

This is just the latest in a long line of state legislation interfering with a woman’s decision-making about her reproductive health. In the last two years, states have enacted more than 130 restrictions on reproductive health care. Ignoring significant grassroots opposition, extremists in the states keep pushing outrageous measures – like the sweeping bill pending in the Michigan Senate that could prevent women in the state from having access to abortion care or the regulations aimed at shutting down women’s health centers being considered this week in Virginia.

So what do we do in the face of yet another reminder, this one courtesy of the Missouri legislature, about the threat to women’s health? We stay vigilant during next year’s legislative sessions when these issues will resurface with a whole new crop of lawmakers at state capitols. We get creative in expressing our opposition to dangerous proposals. And we speak up, now and in the future, to let our elected officials know that women’s health should not be subject of a political game of keep-away. The new Missouri law is part of a long standing trend of legislation attacking women’s access to reproductive health care. Let’s work to make sure that trend comes to an end.

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