“Birth control is basic health care and is an economic issue for Missouri women and families. To make a woman pay for birth control on top of premium payments has real economic consequences.”
—Missouri State Rep. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur.
aking a brief timeout from national politics, I want to call attention to what Republicans here in Missouri shamefully pulled off on Wednesday. From the AP:
Missouri lawmakers enacted new religious exemptions from insurance coverage of birth control Wednesday, overriding a gubernatorial veto and delivering a political rebuke to an Obama administration policy requiring insurers to cover contraception.
Overriding Governor Jay Nixon’s July veto wasn’t easy. In the House, Republicans had exactly the votes they needed—109—and not one vote more, thanks to seven Democrats—yes, I said Democrats—who unbelievably voted against Missouri women and reproductive freedom.
Governor Nixon said,
By their act today, the legislators who voted to override this veto are standing between women and their right to make their own personal decisions about birth control.
The deciding vote, as it turns out, belonged to Republican Chris Molendorp, of Belton. The Kansas City Star pointed out that Molendorp, an insurance agent,
was the only member of his party to oppose the birth control bill when it originally passed in May.
The only member of his party. The only one. And he caved into pressure from his fellow Republicans and, when it counted most, voted against Missouri women. The Star describes Molendorp’s behavior after the vote:
A visibly distraught Molendorp left the House floor and did not participate in a Republican press conference after the vote. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.
If you want to try to reach Mr. Molendorp for comment or just to express your displeasure with his inexplicable vote, here is his Jefferson City contact info:
Phone: 573-751-2175 Email: Chris.Molendorp@house.mo.gov
Fortunately, a lawsuit has been filed by a Kansas City firefighter and the Greater Kansas City Coalition of Labor Union Women, asking a judge to restore some sanity to Missouri politics and toss the law out.
For the record, here are the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of the Democrats—Democrats!—who chose religious oppression over women’s freedom:
Joe Fallert, from Ste. Genevieve. Phone: 573-751-7735 Joe.FallertJr@house.mo.gov
Ben Harris, from Hillsboro. Phone: 636-221-1798 Ben.Harris@house.mo.gov
Paul Quinn, from Monroe City. Phone: 866-439-1422 Paul.Quinn@house.mo.gov
Ed Schieffer*, from Troy. Phone: 573-751-9459 Ed.Schieffer@house.mo.gov
Tom Shively, from Shelbyville. Phone: 573-633-2484 Tom.Shively@house.mo.gov
Terry Swinger, from Caruthersville. Phone: 573-333-1861 firstname.lastname@example.org
A special note about this Democrat from the AP:
In the House, Rep. Ed Schieffer, D-Troy, arrived in a wheelchair after suffering a staph infection from knee surgery in order to vote for the veto override.
If only he cared as much about the rights of women.