2012 News Archive

 

Expanding Medicaid is the smart choice

Benjamin H. Parker-Goos – St. Louis Post-Dispatch – December 1, 2012

Regarding “Nixon favors expanding Medicaid program” (Nov. 29):

I applaud Gov. Jay Nixon for making the smart choice and proposing to expand Medicaid. In a country where everyone — Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, whoever — is looking to get the most bang for their buck, having states expand Medicaid seems like the right idea. Time and time again, we have seen that when people are on Medicaid, they are more likely to seek preventative care and thus lower health care costs in the long run. This is especially true when looking at women’s health and family planning.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, for every $1 of public funding (i.e. Medicaid) that is invested in family planning programs, the state of Missouri is able to save $6.20 in Medicaid costs overall. In fact, when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services evaluated the savings through Medicaid expansion, it found that states like Arkansas and Oregon had saved upward of $20 million in one year.

These savings are not only passed on to the GOP’s favorite level of government, the state, but also onto hospitals and patients. It’s clear that expanding Medicaid is the right move for everyone as it lowers health care costs, lowers government spending especially at the state level, and, most importantly though often forgotten, allows more people to live healthy lives.

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Nixon favors expanding Medicaid program

Elizabeth Crisp – St. Louis Post-Dispatch – November 29, 2012

Gov. Jay Nixon wants to expand Missouri’s Medicaid program to provide health care coverage to some 220,000 uninsured adults in the state.

“As governor I have both the opportunity and obligation to keep Missouri moving forward,” he told reporters in a conference call this morning. “It is the smart thing to do and it is the right thing to do.”

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Access to birth control affects women’s economics

Liz Kiefer – St. Louis Post-Dispatch – November 21, 2012

In the article “Election won’t end abortion/contraception debate,” I think Elisabeth Jacobs hit the nail on the head. She stated that Republicans have still not connected the fact that access to birth control affects women’s economics. A United Nations report recently declared the human right to access to family planning measures, which includes contraception, could save the world billions of dollars. I do not understand why anti-choice politicians and supporters still have not put two and two together. It is pretty evident that parents, families and communities suffer financially when a woman has a child dependent on her that she cannot afford.

It is time politicians stop pretending that access to contraception and safe abortion is less important than the economic concerns held women. The two are directly linked. Children are expensive and can impede a woman’s ability to contribute to the economy at their fullest potential if she is not financially prepared. Safe abortion and birth control are the best measures to ensure a woman has a child when she is ready.

The election results may not have ended the debate, but it has clearly shown that anti-choice supporters are the minority. If they want to improve the economy, restricting access to safe abortions and effective birth control is not the way to do it.

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Protection for servicewomen

Letter to the Editor – St. Louis Post-Dispatch – August 6, 2012

Abortion is a hot-button issue. But what shouldn’t be controversial is the abortion coverage of servicewomen who have been raped in the line of duty. In addition to serving America under the threat of injury in a country far from home, these servicewomen also face the real possibility of rape by their fellow servicemen. According to CNN, a female soldier is more likely to be attacked by a serviceman than killed by enemy fire. The Pentagon estimates that 19,000 rapes occurred within the Armed Forces in 2011 despite a “zero-tolerance” policy toward sexual assault. This statistic is unacceptable, and military insurance does nothing to ease this burden of its servicewomen. An abortion procedure for servicewomen, even in cases of rape by a military co-worker, lacks insurance coverage. Medicaid helps low-income women finance an abortion in cases of rape, so why are our servicewomen unprotected? U.S. servicewomen should have access to the options they need in order to continue their lives as they see fit.

The Shaheen Amendment would change the lives of military rape survivors for the better. If this amendment becomes law, raped servicewomen would be given the opportunity to choose the path that is right for them. The Shaheen Amendment should be included in the 2013 defense authorization bill.

Megan Waterman • Glen Carbon

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Letters to the Editor – St. Louis Post-Dispatch – July 22, 2012

Missouri should reject attempts to bring religion into government

What a relief it was to find the editorial about Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s “dance” with his veto of the contraception bill last week. Even if the veto was for the narrowest reason he could find, Mr. Nixon did do the right thing. The editorial “Reluctant, but right” (July 15) mentioned that state law already allows employers and employees who don’t want to pay for contraceptive coverage to opt out of policies if it conflicts with their religious or moral convictions. The paper is correct in assessing that the existing requirement is itself objectionable.

Bringing religious beliefs into the arena of government, where they do not belong, is everything our Founding Fathers fought against. Just because I am a Catholic woman does not mean I am willing to have my hard-won rights stripped from me by my church or by a bunch of politicians seeking to control women, their families and their babies.

It is more important than ever to stand by Mr. Nixon, despite the Republicans’ dedication to attacking him. Birth control is a decision between a woman and her doctor, not her church and legislator. Let’s show the GOP that Missouri women will not allow women’s rights to be taken back to the 1950s and beyond.

Alison Dreith • St. Louis

No less for Missouri women

As the Post-Dispatch stated in “Reluctant, but right” (July 15), “Birth control is not an issue, it’s a decision.” Senate Bill 749 attempted to turn a woman’s personal, private decision regarding health care into a political issue under the guise of religious freedom. Missourians were incredibly vocal in asking Gov. Jay Nixon to reject this bill. His office received thousands of emails, calls and messages from many constituents, including me, and organizations in opposition to the bill, including the National Council of Jewish Women, Sierra Club, Faith Aloud and labor unions such as the AFL-CIO.

Regardless of Mr. Nixon’s reason for vetoing the bill, he made the decision to stand by the women and families of Missouri by protecting affordable access to birth control. Missourians and Mr. Nixon have spoken. Women — not employers, politicians or insurers — are best suited to make birth control decisions.

Besides, why would Missouri women deserve any less health care coverage than women in every other state?

Alyson Currey • St. Louis

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Mo. governor vetoes bill on contraception coverage

Associated Press – Daily Journal Online – July 12, 2012

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed legislation Thursday that would have expanded religious and moral exemptions from insurance policies covering birth control, thus avoiding a potential conflict with a new contraception policy put forth by President Barack Obama’s administration.

Nixon said he supports religious and ethical exemptions from contraception coverage that already exist in Missouri law. But he said the new bill could have extended those exemptions to insurance companies, allowing them to deny birth control coverage to women who want it.

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SB749-Bill’s veto would help women’s well-being

Megan Waterman – The Springfield News-Leader – July 3, 2012

On Jan. 20, I felt a jolt of joy as President Obama stood by the Affordable Care Act’s policy that will allow women to receive birth control without additional co-pay. Today, I am terrified that Gov. Nixon will fail to veto Senate Bill 749 and deny the women of Missouri access to the basic health care that contraception provides.

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Fate of birth control insurance is up to Governor

Joplin Independent – June 29, 2012

Starting in August 2012, birth control will be treated like any other preventive prescription under the Affordable Care Act, and will be available without co-pays or deductibles to over 203,000Missouriwomen – if Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, vetoes SB749. He has until July 14 to veto the bill or it becomes law. The law was presented to the governor in May.

Now that the highest court in the nation has upheld access to birth control, Governor Nixon should veto SB749 which would undercut this popular, important women’s health provision,” said Mary Kogut, Vice President of Patient Services at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region andSouthwest Missouri. “Why should women inMissourihave less health care coverage than women in other states?” Kogut asked.

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Selective outrage

James Mitchell –St. Louis Post-Dispatch – June 27, 2012

Regarding the commentary “There is no religious freedom without freedom of conscience” (June 20): I have worked for several Catholic-based social services, and they deducted state and federal income taxes from my salaries, just as they deducted from my paycheck for my benefits. An employer’s contribution to a health insurance premium and payroll taxes are not directly comparable, but they fund programs and actions implemented by local, state or federal governments that the church may find objectionable.

As a practicing Catholic and a taxpayer, I am confused by the church’s selective outrage. Why is it a threat to religious freedom to require a church-based employer to contribute to issues around human sexuality, but not for the death penalty or wars? The leaders of my church choose to challenge the government only when some Catholic teachings are threatened.

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SB749- Bill is a blow to women

Mary K. Bifulco –Springfield News-Leader – June 22, 2012

Rather than creating jobs or revising the state budget on their last day in session, Missouri lawmakers used women’s health as a political pawn by passing Senate Bill 749.

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GREATER KANSAS CITY AFL-CIO: SB749 AN “ATTACK ON THE RIGHTS OF AMERICAN WORKERS”

Patrick A. Dujakovich, President, Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO

Progress Missouri

The Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO is urging Governor Nixon to veto Senate Bill 749, an attack on the rights of American workers.

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Governor should veto contraception bill

The News-Leader Editorial Board – Springfield News-Leader – June 21, 2012

The state already has laws in place that guarantee a health care provider the right to refuse to perform procedures or dispense medications that are in conflict with their religious and moral convictions. Catholic hospitals, including Mercy, do not offer contraception such as the pill or IUDs or offer routine sterilization procedures such as tubal ligations or vasectomies, nor will they do elective abortions.

Abortion is not covered under the Affordable Care Act, nor can state or federal funds be used toward paying for an elective abortion.

While the state awaits an all-important decision from the Supreme Court, this red herring legislation should die by veto. The court’s ruling will determine what happens next, not this bill.

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Political issue, not liberty

Ginny Kiernan Dahlberg – St. Louis Post-Dispatch – June 14, 2012

I was raised Roman Catholic and educated in Roman Catholic institutions through my doctorate in theology from a Jesuit university. I know that the issue of insurance coverage for contraceptives is a political issue, not one of religious liberty.

The existence of coverage does not require or compel an individual employee to use it; that remains a personal decision. It does not suggest that those who own the company or institution sanction or promote such use, it merely reflects their duty to provide adequate health care for all employees without discrimination on the basis of religion. The Roman Catholic church remains free to teach all matters of faith and morals to its members, and the bishops and the people remain free to worship according to church beliefs and practices. The bishops have full religious liberty. Read more ->

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Gov. Nixon should veto bill that would harm women’s health

Darien Arnstein, State Policy Advocacy Chair, National Council of Jewish Women – St. Louis Section

St. Louis Post-Dispatch – June 8, 2012

The 2,000 members and supporters of the National Council of Jewish Women in Missouriare urging Gov. Jay Nixon to veto Senate Bill 749, legislation that would restrict women’s access to the full range of reproductive health care services, including birth control, by allowing any employer with “moral objections” to deny this coverage in its health insurance plans. Our Legislature seems committed to restricting every woman’s access to reproductive health care. The impact of these restrictions on women and families would be devastating, harming women’s health and eroding their religious liberty.

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Thousands email governor about Missouri contraception bill

Chris Blank – The Kansas City Star – June 16, 2012

Gov. Jay Nixon has been inundated with nearly 5,000 online messages, emails and letters as he mulls what to do with a politically thorny bill injectingMissouriinto the national debate over insurance coverage for contraception.

Read more ->

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Missouri AFL-CIO urges Nixon to veto contraception bill

Jason Hancock – The Kansas City Star – June 13, 2012

Missouri’s largest group of labor unions is calling on Gov. Jay Nixon to veto a bill that would allow employers to refuse to provide health insurance coveragefor contraception, sterilization or abortion.

The Missouri AFL-CIO is asking its members to contact the governor to urge him to veto the contraception measure, calling it “anti-worker.” The bill, which was passed on the legislative session’s final day, states that no employer or health plan provider can be compelled to provide coverage of abortion, contraception or sterilization if doing so violates their religious or moral convictions.

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UPDATE: Limbaugh bust security costs Missouri taxpayers $1,100

David A. Lieb – The Columbia Missourian – May 24, 2012

The Missouri House has spent more than $1,100 in taxpayer money on a security camera to keep watch over a new bronze bust of conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh, the House clerk said Thursday.

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Are Missouri lawmakers at war with women?

Elizabeth Crisp –St. Louis Post-Dispatch – May 21, 2012

The “war on women,” as it has been dubbed nationally, served as a call to arms for Democrats in Missourithis legislative session, where bills that would make it harder for women to get abortions, and in some cases contraception, seemed to pass with ease through the House and gain traction in the Senate.

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Editorial: Legislature won’t find success until voters clean it up

Editorial Board – St. Louis Post-Dispatch – May 19, 2012

Before Missouri legislative leaders pounded their gavels to end their annual session on Friday, Republican leaders already were declaring their five-month frat party a success.

This is not unusual. Nearly every Missouri legislative session ends the same way.

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Missouri’s desultory, destructive session

Editorial – The Kansas City Star – May 19, 2012

This will be remembered inMissourias the year the legislature didn’t even try.

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Our View: Ditto that

The Joplin Globe – May 16, 2012

Lots of angry words are being tossed around about a secretive ceremony held Monday in our state Capitol to honor Rush Limbaugh’s induction as a member of the Hall of Famous Missourians.

Let us add our “ditto” to that criticism.

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Rush Limbaugh debacle sullies Missouri, Tilley

Kansas City Star Editorial – May 16, 2012

The Missouri House chambers, meant to be a place of vigorous debate and many voices, this week became the locked province of radio host Rush Limbaugh and a few of his greatest admirers.

They were on the inside. By order of House Speaker Steve Tilley, the public was on the outside — literally locked out, with state troopers at the doors to reinforce the message.

Shame on Tilley. His selection of the blustery and offensive Limbaugh for entry into the Hall of Famous Missourians was questionable. But locking the public out of the induction ceremony was unacceptable.

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Editorial: Missouri Speaker’s legacy: It’s El Rushbo’s House now

The Editorial Board –St. Louis Post-Dispatch – May 16, 2012

That Mr. Tilley would sell his soul to Mr. Limbaugh, and offer a place in the Capitol rotunda for his likeness is hardly surprising. In fact, it’s oddly appropriate; history will record that under Mr. Tilley’s watch, the discourse in the House has not been too different from the sort of bile that is a regular feature of Mr. Limbaugh’s show. Still, no House member has yet publicly called a woman a ‘slut,” as Mr. Limbaugh did in March.

Read the editorial here ->

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Sleeping through a counter-revolution

Walle A. Amusa – The St. Louis American – May 10, 2012

Falsely, Bishop Jenky claimed that if re-elected, President Obama would close Catholic schools, hospitals, Newman Centers and all Catholic public ministries.

This is fear mongering of the worst kind.

All President Obama has done is to uphold the law and insist that any church-affiliated organization that accepts tax dollars cannot and should not discriminate against any American in their delivery of services or health care benefits.

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The myth of the “morning-after abortion pill”

Irin Carmon – Salon – April 26, 2012

It started around February, when Republicans were still eager to talk about contraception. The Obama administration, or so Mitt Romney charged in Colorado, was forcing religious institutions to provide “morning-after pills –in other words abortive pills — and the like, at no cost.”

It was, of course, a lie. Romney was conflating two different pills: emergency contraception, known as the morning-after pill, which prevents a pregnancy; and chemical abortion, or mifepristone, which ends a pregnancy of up to seven weeks’ gestation and isn’t covered under the new guidelines. Since both pills were marketed in the U.S. around the same time, even some pro-choicers have gotten confused. But Colorado happens to be the epicenter of people confusing them on purpose. It’s the birthplace of the Personhood movement and home to Focus on the Family, both of which have strategically called emergency contraception “abortion” on the scientifically unproven basis that they could block a fertilized egg from implanting.

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Why Planned Parenthood matters

Joan Walsh – Salon – April 17, 2012

I’ve always supported Planned Parenthood, but I think the group has helped change the political debate in this country in tangible ways over the last year or so, and I’m excited to talk about where we go from here.

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Missouri Contraception Law: Legislators Approve Bill Allowing Refusal Of Abortion Care

John Celock – HuffPost Politics – March 29, 2012

The Republican-controlled Missouri House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill Wednesday afternoon that would allow the denial of certain medical services to women for religious reasons, following an emotional debate where the majority leader was forced to deny he compared women to farm animals.

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Protestors Hold “Rally Against Rush” at State Capitol

Zheng Hwuang Chia – KOMU.com – Updated: Mar 29, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY- Supporters of women’s health rallied at the state capitol Wednesday to deliver what they said were 35,000 letters to House Speaker Steven Tilley and Governor Jay Nixon.

The group was protesting against Tilley’s intention to put a bust in the capitol honoring radio host Rush Limbaugh.

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Limbaugh bust opponents rally at Missouri Capitol

Elizabeth Crisp –St. Louis Post-Dispatch – March 28, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY • Those who oppose a plan to add controversial talk radio host Rush Limbaugh to the state Capitol’s Hall of Famous Missourians continue to speak out.

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Contraception uproar: It’s the ’60s all over again

Robin Abcarian -Los Angeles Times – March 24, 2012

Last fall, before he became a front-runner in the Republican presidential race, Rick Santorum told a conservative Christian blogger inIowathat he would use the White House bully pulpit to promote his concerns about something most people considered settled: birth control.

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Anti-abortion centers draw renewed look in Jeff City

Jason Hancock – Kansas CityStar – March 19, 2012

Millions of dollars in state funds and tax credits have been doled out in recent years to assist mostly faith-based nonprofits in their efforts to reduce the number of abortions performed in Missouri.

Critics complain, however, that much of the money ends up benefiting what are called pregnancy resource centers, which they contend often pose as medical clinics while providing inaccurate information designed to scare women away from having an abortion.

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The Affordable Care Act Protects Women’s Health

Valerie B. Jarrett – The Daily Beast – Mar 20, 2012

Almost two years ago, the president signed the Affordable Care Act. Today the new law is giving millions of families the security that comes with knowing their health care will be there for them when they need it. And the law is helping women address many of the challenges they have faced getting the care they need.

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Protestors Warn Romney is Not for “The Everyman”

KMOX CBS St.Louis – March 13, 2012

KIRKWOOD, MO–(KMOX)–With passing motorists honking to show their support, a crowd of more than twenty protestors holding signs stood outside the park where Mitt Romney spoke with supporters.

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Tilley, Limbaugh and the Party of Misogyny

Political Eye – The St. Louis American – March 8, 2012

On Tuesday, Ellen Sweets did what a great many women (and the men who respect and love them) wanted to do. She sent a scathing comment about conservative broadcaster Rush Limbaugh to someone responsible for his amplification or glorification. Thousands of emails, letters and calls at Limbaugh’s expense have been sent to radio stations that broadcast Limbaugh, advertisers that support his show and, in this case, a Missouri legislator who had announced he would go forward with erecting a bust in Limbaugh’s honor in the state Capitol’s Hall of Famous Missourians.

This move came in the middle of the the same news cycle when Limbaugh set off a growing national controversy for calling a young law student a “slut” and a “prostitute” simply because she practiced birth control and supports insurance funding for it.

The Missouri state legislator in question is Speaker of the House Steve Tilley, a Republican from Perryville. Ellen Sweets let Steve Tilley have it:

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Letters to the Editor – St. Louis Post-Dispatch – March 8, 2012

Standing up for employees – Pamela Merritt, St. Louis

When 51 senators voted to table U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt’s controversial conscience amendment that would have granted all employers the ability to refuse any health care coverage they find morally objectionable, they cast the right vote.

Access to health care should not depend on who a person’s boss is or whether her employer thinks something is immoral.

I’ve been on birth control pills to treat endometriosis and uterine fibroids for more than a decade. In that time, I’ve had employers who were Mormon, Jewish, Catholic and atheist. I never thought to ask for their views on birth control pills during the job interview or explain how hormonal therapy is used to treat endometriosis and uterine fibroids when accepting their job offer. Instead, my health has been protected because of uninterrupted hormonal treatment, despite having had employers from such diverse religious backgrounds.

I struggle to understand how 48 senators came to the conclusion that health care as an employee benefit also should be an opportunity for employers to impose their morality on everyone they employ. But I’m thankful that 51U.S.senators, including Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., voted to stand up for employees and access to health care.

Moral obligations – M’Evie Mead, Webster Groves

Birth control is health care used to keep women’s bodies healthy. Women’s health is not a political football, nor is it something my boss should be able to take away based on some moral conviction or conversion. I’m proud of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and state Rep. Jeanne Kirkton, D-Webster Groves, who voted to retain access for birth control and other health care coverage for women regardless of where they work.

Fifty years of safe, legal access to contraception has significantly increased women’s ability to participate in our economy, society and politics. Those pretending that this debate about health insurance coverage is somehow not about health but about institutions’ right to religious liberty are intellectually dishonest.

Being Catholic was central to my upbringing. For us kids it meant Catholic school, weekly Mass, First Communion. For my parents it meant that artificial contraception was off limits as a violation of conscience. After my mother’s first miscarriage, she was told pregnancy was a life-threatening condition. The second miscarriage meant weeks in the hospital away from her four children. I remember huddling in the hospital parking lot with my brothers and sister waving to her window. We weren’t allowed to visit. My mother is alive today because my parents eventually made a different decision about contraception, also based on their consciences.

I respect my parents’ struggle to uphold their faith while tending to their moral obligation to parent their children. I do not respect politicians who would wrench that decision and my mother away from my family.

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Missouri Dems ask Speaker to abandon plans to honor Rush Limbaugh

Jason Hancock – The Kansas City Star – March 6, 2012

A group of Missouri House Democrats have written a letter to Speaker Steve Tilley requesting that he abandon plans to induct Rush Limbaugh into the Hall of Famous Missourians.

News of Limbaugh’s induction into the hall, which honors famous Missourians for their achievements and contributions to the state, broke Monday afternoon. Since then, Democrats have decried the idea, especially in light of the controversy surrounding Limbaugh’s recent comments in which he referred to aGeorgetownUniversitylaw student as a “slut” and a “prostitute.”

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Health care provision doesn’t trample religious freedom

Bailey Parrish –SpringfieldNews-Leader – February 26, 2012

I’m a 23-year old-employee of a Catholic hospital. When I was 20, I was hired as a nurse’s aide. It’s hard, unglamorous and underpaid work, but together with nurses, doctors, social workers, housekeeping and administration, we take care of our patients. We also take care of each other.

The Obama administration recently made a decision to protect affordable access to birth control. Now, millions of women employed at religiously affiliated hospitals or universities will receive the same health and economic benefits as everyone else.

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‘Mad Men’ vs. Angry Women? ‘Culture war’ reruns in contraception debate

Robert Koenig –St. Louis Beacon – February 22, 2012

Is it “Mad Men” versus Angry Women? Religious liberty versus secular freedom? Or “rights of conscience” versus rights of contraception?

No matter how you view the hot debate over the Obama administration’s new rule on contraceptives coverage — and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt’s “Rights of Conscience” amendment that would block it — many hear echoes of the “culture wars” of previous decades over issues like birth control.

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Letters to the editor

St. Louis Post-Dispatch – February 15, 2012

Supporting good public policy

Thank you to President Barack Obama for standing firmly in support of good public policy by supporting birth control coverage for all women.

Ninety-nine percent of American women who have had sex have used birth control. The very small group of Catholic bishops who have been very vocal in opposition to birth control without copays are nowhere near the mainstream on this issue.

Birth control allows women to plan their families, and it saves money. Family planning care is estimated by the Guttmacher Institute to save taxpayers $6.20 for each dollar spent. Birth control coverage without copays is good for women, and it is good forAmerica.

Kim Gifford • St. Louis

Liberty isn’t dependent on work

The editorial board got it right in supporting no-cost birth control coverage. I was relieved to see President Barack Obama ensuring that women regardless of where they work will have access to no-cost birth control, thanks to the preventive care provision of the Affordable Care Act.

The religious and moral liberty about which we should be concerned is that of the individual women who deserve the ability to prevent unintended pregnancy and to protect their health. This liberty shouldn’t rely on where you work. And your employer certainly shouldn’t have the right to strip you of it.

Cara Weber • St. Louis

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Bill to block birth control coverage on religious grounds moves forward

Marshall Griffin –St. Louis Public Radio – February 14, 2012

Planned Parenthood lobbyist Michelle Trupiano spoke against the bill before the committee vote.

“Increased access to birth control is directly linked to declines in maternal and infant mortality, as well as other health benefits…it’s not always used just to prevent pregnancy,” Trupiano said.  “Women should not be denied access to this benefit just because they work for a religious employer.”

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Missouri Legislature may chime in on contraception mandate

Virginia Young –St. Louis Post-Dispatch – February 14, 2012

The Missouri Senate is poised to jump into the federal fray over insurance coverage for birth control.

A Senate committee fast-tracked a bill today that would let employers and health insurers in the state opt out of providing coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortion based on the employer’s or the health plan’s religious beliefs or “moral convictions.”

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Health insurance- Churches can’t dictate care

Jennifer Head –Springfield News-Leader – February 10, 2012

I am a mother of two. I have used birth control in the past. I have friends who have at different stages of their life been advised by a medical professional to use birth control medication. For medical reasons, not for the protection against pregnancy; my sister being one of them. I would hate to think that if she worked for a religious hospital (which we have in our community), she would have had to suffer for her medical care. The majority of my friends and family that have used the product are healthy and happy. Some of them are deeply religious people.

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Birth control

Brent Custer –Springfield News-Leader – February 11, 2012

The Obama administration as well as the federal Department of Health and Human Services has earned my admiration for ensuring access to affordable birth control for women everywhere.

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Letters to the editor, February 11 – St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Wanting it both ways – Mary Sue Gee •St. Louis

As a Catholic woman, I am outraged at the attempts of the Catholic hierarchy to hide behind God and claim “religious liberty” only when it is in their interest.

The bishops were angry that under the new health care law religious institutions that employ the broad public were to cover contraception in their health plans at no additional cost, like other employers . About 335,000 churches and houses of worship were exempted, but religious hospitals and universities, whose mission is to provide care and education, not inculcation of a religious doctrine, were expected to provide this coverage to their employees. This is a matter of fairness and good health care, not a matter of “religious liberty.” Read more ->

Victory for women – Jennifer Bernstein •St. LouisCounty

Vice President, Advocacy, National Council of Jewish Women,St. LouisSection

In its decision, HHS permits a narrowly defined category of religious employers (mainly houses of worship) to opt out of offering the contraceptive benefits to their workers. Institutions such as hospitals, schools and social service agencies employ people from different faiths and backgrounds and should not have the ability to impose their beliefs on their workers.

The HHS decision is a victory for millions of women who will gain access to affordable birth control and enable them to follow their own beliefs and faith traditions in making their own reproductive health decisions. Read more ->

It’s already clear – Timothy E. Hogan • Des Peres

The Post-Dispatch had it completely wrong in the editorial “Mixed messages” (Feb. 9); no “clarity” was needed from the Obama administration of the new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services health insurance regulation concerning contraceptive care coverage. The rule already is clear. There is no “mandate.” Not a single employer is required to purchase any health insurance for any employee; that would be a mandate. If an employer chooses to provide health insurance coverage as an employee benefit, then the employer must provide a plan that covers contraception. Strictly religious institutions already were exempt in recognition of their conscience concerns. Read more ->

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Obama administration must clarify contraception rules

The Editorial Board –St. LouisPost-Dispatch – February 9, 2012

The Obama administration now finds itself under assault, for example, over provisions requiring insurance companies to broaden coverage of women’s preventive health services — with no co-pay or deductible charges — starting in August. Among services that insurers will have to cover are contraception methods and procedures.

Read this editorial ->

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Editorial notebook: Women with cancer don’t care about politics

Tony Messenger – St. Louis Post-Dispatch – February 6, 2012

My wife had her first mammogram last month.

There was a spot on the image. The doctor wanted a closer look.

So, a few days later, she had an ultrasound. She is fine.

But in the moments between “there is a spot” and “she is fine,” I was secretly on edge.

Cancer kills. It doesn’t discriminate.

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Right decision on birth control

Editorial – Star Tribune – January 29, 2012

The Obama administration has reached a sensible but controversial decision on health insurance coverage for contraceptives. In general, an employer’s religious beliefs should not dictate the type of drugs or medical procedures covered by their employees’ health insurance plans.

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President Obama’s Pro-Choice Birth Control Decision Draws Praise From Religious Leaders

Amanda Terkel – Huffington Post – January 30, 2012

A group of religious organizations Monday thanked President Obama for his administration’s recent decision on contraception, hoping to bring attention to religious pro-choice voices and to show that not all people of faith disagree with the new law.

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Birth Control and Reproductive Rights

Editorial –New York– January 29, 2012

It was good news that the Obama administration withstood pressure from Roman Catholic bishops and social conservatives to deny contraceptive coverage for millions of American women who work for religiously affiliated employers. Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services secretary, rejected broad exemptions from a new rule requiring all health plans to cover birth control, without a deductible or co-payment.

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Birth Control: Could It Be Illegal Again?

Adam Cohen – Time ideas – January 30, 2012

Americans have been fighting for decades over abortion, but a new battle has been raging lately — and it’s one with a distinctly retro feel. This time, the war is over birth control: whether insurance companies or government should have to pay for it — and yes, even whether it should be legal.

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Planned Parenthood lauds new rule 

The Joplin Independent – January 23, 2012

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today (Jan. 20, 2012) that a forthcoming final rule will protect women’s access to the birth control coverage benefit—birth control with no additional cost share. This announcement makes clear that HHS will not expand the current refusal provision in the women’s preventive benefit under section 2713 of the Affordable Care Act, thus protecting access to affordable birth control for the majority of women inAmerica.

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