Missouri lawmakers have enacted new religious exemptions to President Obama's birth control coverage mandate.
Missouri is the first in the nation to directly rebuke the federal contraception mandate with a new state law.
"This bill is about protecting our religious liberties. This bill is about protecting businesses from the overreach of government," Rep. Sandy Crawford, R-Buffalo, said.
Several pending lawsuits against the federal policy claim the it infringes on religious rights.
The Missouri Catholic Conference, Missouri Right to Life and other anti-abortion groups championed the state measure.
On Wednesday, Christian-oriented Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. became the largest and first non-Catholic-owned company to sue over the mandate.