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Sarah Steelman got an ad out all about the affront to religious freedom and how McCaskill and Obama are bad by proxy. (Check the news if you have somehow missed the nontroversy from last week).

When it comes to matters of Sarah Steelman and the current outrages of the 2012 Republican party, you need to check the record to see what happened in the past.

Back in 2001.. HB762 was moving through the Senate. The National Conference of State Legislatures describes the bill/law as follows:

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 376.1199 (2001) requires health carriers that provide pharmaceutical coverage to include coverage for contraceptives, excluding drugs and devices that are intended to induce an abortion. The law clarifies that coverage for prescriptive contraceptive drugs or devices is not excluded if prescribed for other diagnosed medical conditions. The law exempts specified insurance policies, including health carriers owned and operated by religious entities, from the provisions of the law. The law prohibits discrimination against an enrollee because of the enrollee’s request regarding contraceptive coverage. The law requires carriers to maintain the confidentiality of any individual’s request for contraceptive coverage. (HB 762)

Essentially this law is the “good kind” of birth control coverage in the eyes of the 2012 Republican Party, right? After all, it has exemptions for religious groups and it’s not the kind of coverage that spawns Sarah Steelman attack ads.

Actually, that stand seems to be to the left of the current 2012 Republican stance, judging by the whole matter of Roy Blunt trying to put a “Freedom of Conscience” amendment up to allow employers to opt-out of contraceptive coverage.

This sort of thing did come up in 2001.

John Loudon offered an amendment to the bill to make birth control coverage optional in the law. The vote on the amendment was 25-8 against.

The Ayes were John Cauthorn, Doyle Childers, Bill Kenney, Peter Kinder, David Klindt, John Loudon, Larry Rohrbach, and Morris Westfall.

The overall bill passed 153-0 in the House and 32-2 in the Senate (Loudon and Rohrbach opposed).

That Was Then.

We know that 2012 Sarah Steelman is all about the religious freedom. What about the Blunt Amendment? What about the concept of making contraceptive coverage optional?

Sarah Steelman to Claire McCaskill on Twitter: “are you going to sign on to @royblunt S1467 to protect rights of conscience or is 1st amendment meaningless to you? #mosen #tcot”

S1467 CRS Summary:

Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011 – Amends the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to permit a health plan to decline coverage of specific items and services that are contrary to the religious beliefs of the sponsor, issuer, or other entity offering the plan or the purchaser or beneficiary (in the case of individual coverage) without penalty.  Declares that such plans are still considered to: (1) be providing the essential health benefits package or preventive health services, (2) be a qualified health plan, and (3) have fulfilled other requirements under PPACA.

Declares that nothing in PPACA shall be construed to authorize a health plan to require a provider to provide, participate in, or refer for a specific item or service contrary to the provider’s religious beliefs or moral convictions. Prohibits a health plan from being considered to have failed to provide timely or other access to items or services or to fulfill any other requirement under PPACA because it has respected the rights of conscience of such a provider.

Prohibits an American Health Benefit Exchange (a state health insurance exchange) or other official or entity acting in a governmental capacity in the course of implementing PPACA from discriminating against a health plan, plan sponsor, health care provider, or other person because of an unwillingness to provide coverage of, participate in, or refer for, specific items or services.

Creates a private cause of action for the protection of individual rights created under this Act. Authorizes any person or entity to assert a violation of this Act as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding.

Designates the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to receive and investigate complaints of discrimination based on this Act.

Makes this Act effective as if it were included in PPACA.

Oh, That Is Now. Isn’t It.