A Tale of Two Vetoes: Governor Haley is Chump and Governor Nixon is Champ
First, Governor Nikki Haley went on The View where she claimed “women don’t care about contraception.” Then she vetoed a bill that could provide free HPV vaccines to young people. And this week, she vetoed and called funding for sexual assault and rape prevention a distraction. We shudder to think what’s next.
So why did she veto a bill that would have provided $453,680 for domestic violence and sexual assault prevention? Because she thinks “these special add-on lines distract from the agency's broader mission of protecting South Carolina's public health."
Governor Haley may say that sexual assault and rape survivors only make up “a small portion of South Carolina’s chronically ill or abused,” but their rape rate has exceeded the national rate since 1982, and South Carolina is the seventh-worst state for the number of women murdered by men. These issues aren’t merely a distraction, they’re a major public health concern.
If this veto is sustained, according to South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (SCCADVASA) Executive Director Pamela Jacobs, “rape crisis centers will lose 37% of their current state funding.” That’s not something to ignore.
So while Governor Haley vetoes a good bill in South Carolina, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon vetoed a bad bill, thereby earning this week’s Champ title.
The bill was an attempt to undermine the popular proposal that would have required health insurance plans to cover birth control as preventive care, with no co-pay. It’s a critical and popular benefit of the new health care reform law, considering birth control can cost up to $600 dollars a year, and more than 99 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 44 who are sexually active have at some point used birth control (not to mention that 58 percent of the women who use birth control use it for purposes other than pregnancy prevention).
Governor Nixon’s veto demonstrates his commitment to supporting women’s health and his belief that birth control should be covered by insurance companies no matter where you work.
After two months and more than 10,000 messages sent to the governor’s office, he finally made the right decision to protect women’s access to birth control. As Nixon acknowledged in his written statement, the effort to expand the religious and moral exemption to insurers (giving them the right to deny coverage), “would signal a retreat from the liberties enjoyed by employers and employees under current law."
For standing for women and access to birth control, Governor Nixon completely deserves this week’s Champ crown!