Pro-Life Democrats Stand Tall in Veto Override
Pro-life Democrats in the Missouri House of Representatives provided the crucial votes in overriding Governor Jay Nixon's veto of pro-life religious liberty legislation.
The Missouri Legislature voted to enact Senate Bill 749, despite the Governor's objections, during last week's veto session. The bill, sponsored by Senator John Lamping of Clayton, is a state-level challenge to the Obama Administration's contraceptive and abortion drug mandate.
That mandate requires that all health insurance policies issued in the United States must include coverage for all "contraceptives" approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Those "contraceptives" include drugs and devices that are designed to destroy developing embryos.
The Obama Administration's contraceptive mandate compels religious entities such as Catholic institutions and ministries to underwrite drugs and procedures that violate their religious doctrines.
Senate Bill 749 states that no employee can be required to purchase, nor can an employer be required to provide, insurance coverage that includes abortion, contraception, or sterilization, if it violates their religious beliefs.
The new law does not have the effect of exempting Missouri citizens and employers from complying with the federal mandate. However, the law would provide religious freedom protection to Missouri citizens, corporations, and religious organizations if the contraceptive mandate is repealed, revoked, or withdrawn.
The Missouri Senate voted to override Nixon's veto by a vote of 26-6. The House overrode the Governor's veto by a vote of 109-45, the exact vote needed for a two-thirds majority.
Seven pro-life Democrats voted to override, resisting pressure to sustain the veto of a Governor of their own party. The Democrats who stood firm in their pro-life convictions were Representatives Ron Casey, Joe Fallert, Ben Harris, Paul Quinn, Ed Schieffer, Tom Shively, and Terry Swinger.
Representative Schieffer deserves special accolades. He made it to the State Capitol to cast his vote despite the fact he was in very weak condition, recovering from a staph infection following knee surgery.
Within hours of the veto, a lawsuit was filed claiming that the new law discriminates on the basis of sex and religion. The legal challenge was filed by the Greater Kansas City Coalition of Labor Union Women and a female firefighter.
In the meantime, a Missouri college has joined numerous religious institutions and church ministries across the country in filing suit against the contraceptive and abortion drug mandate.
The College of the Ozarks filed suit yesterday in U.S. District Court in Springfield. College President Jerry Davis noted that the suit was being filed on the 225th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.
"The so-called Affordable Care Act is government at its worst," Davis said in a statement. "This is not a partisan issue. This is a constitutional issue, and the College wants its rights respected and enforced, instead of being trampled upon."
Below you will find the votes of Missouri State Senators and Representatives on the veto override on Senate Bill 749:
Senators voting to override Governor's veto:
Brown, Callahan, Cunningham, Dempsey, Dixon, Engler, Goodman, Kehoe, Kraus, Lager, Lamping, Lembke, Mayer, McKenna, Munzlinger, Nieves, Parson, Pearce, Purgason, Richard, Ridgeway, Rupp, Schaaf, Schmitt, Stouffer, and Wasson
Senators voting to sustain Governor's veto:
Chappelle-Nadal, Curls, Green, Justus, Keaveny, and Schaefer
Crowell and Wright-Jones
Representatives voting to override Governor's veto:
Representatives Allen, Asbury, Bahr, Barnes, Bernskoetter, Berry, Brandom, Brattin, Brown (Cloria), Brown (Wanda), Burlison, Casey, Cauthorn, Cierpiot, Conway (Kathie), Cookson, Cox, Crawford, Cross, Curtman, Davis, Day, Denison, Dieckhaus, Diehl, Dugger, Elmer, Entlicher, Fallert, Fisher, Fitzwater, Flanigan, Fraker, Franklin, Frederick, Fuhr, Funderburk, Gatschenberger, Gosen, Grisamore, Guernsey, Haefner, Hampton, Harris, Higdon, Hinson, Hoskins, Hough, Houghton, Johnson, Jones (Caleb), Jones (Tim), Keeney, Kelley (Mike), Klippenstein, Koenig, Korman, Lair, Lant, Lasater, Lauer, Leach, Leara, Lichtenegger, Loehner, Long, Marshall, McCaherty, McGhee, McNary, Molendorp, Nance, Neth, Nolte, Parkinson, Phillips, Pollock, Quinn, Redmon, Reiboldt, Richardson, Riddle, Rowland, Ruzicka, Sater, Schad, Scharnhorst, Schatz, Schieber, Schieffer, Schneider, Schoeller, Shively, Shumake, Silvey, Smith (Jason), Solon, Sommer, Stream, Swinger, Thomson, Torpey, Wallingford, Wells, White, Wieland, Wright, Wyatt, and Zerr
Representatives voting to sustain Governor's veto:
Anders, Aull, Black, Carlson, Carter, Colona, Conway (Pat), Ellinger, Ellington, Hodges, Holsman, Hubbard, Hummel, Jones (Tishaura), Kander, Kelly (Chris), Kirkton, Kratky, Lampe, May, McCann Beatty, McCreery, McDonald, McManus, McNeil, Montecillo, Morgan, Nasheed, Newman, Nichols, Oxford, Pace, Pierson, Rizzo, Schupp, Sifton, Smith (Clem), Spreng, Still, Swearingen, Talboy, Taylor, Walton Gray, Webb, and Webber
Atkins, Brown (Michael), Franz, Hughes, Largent, McGeoghegan, and Meadows