A federal judge has struck down a Missouri law that was intended to allow employers to ignore a federal government mandate that required all businesses to provide contraception coverage in health insurance plans.
In her ruling last week, U.S. District Judge Audrey Fleissig pointed out that federal law overrides state laws, the Associated Press reported on Monday.
Last September, Missouri's Republican-controlled legislature overrode Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of the law, which allowed employers to provide health insurance without covering contraception if it conflicted with the “moral, ethical or religious beliefs” of the company.
Missouri's law was thought to be the first in the nation that was targeted at blocking a provision in President Barack Obama's health care reform law that required employers to provide contraception coverage in health plans at no additional cost.
Our Lady’s Inn, a nonprofit group providing services to pregnant women, filed a court document saying it supported the Missouri law because it wished not to provide birth control to employees.
"The point of the law was to tell health insurance companies that they’re supposed to honor the wishes — pro or con — of people who have religious or ethical objections to what’s in the policy," said Timothy Belz, an attorney for Our Lady’s Inn.