Printer Friendly

California Court rules against Catholic charities in contraceptive equity case.

THE CALIFORNIA SUPREME Court has ruled that a Catholic charity must provide employees with contraceptive coverage. In a six to one decision, the first of its kind in the US, the court ruled that while religious employers are exempt from the requirement to provide contraceptive coverage if their health plans cover other prescription medicines, an organization like Catholic Charities--which filed a suit seeking an exemption--is different because it is not a religious employer. Catholic Charities offers services to people of all faiths, without directly preaching Catholic values.

California implemented the Women's Contraceptive Equity Act in 2000, which requires that all health care plans including coverage for prescription drugs also include contraceptive coverage. The act does exempt "religious employers," identified as only those who meet the IRS definition of "church" and who function primarily to promote their religion and to serve those of the same faith. Catholic Charities of Sacramento filed a lawsuit with the California Court of Appeals, Catholic Charities v. State of California, et al., charging that the law does not allow adequate exemptions for religious affiliations, thereby violating constitutional guarantees of religious freedom, equal protection and free speech.

The judges ruled that Catholic Charities does not meet the requirements for exemption, as it is primarily a welfare agency employing and serving many non-Catholics. Experts said the ruling could affect thousands of workers at church-backed hospitals and institutions in California and prompt other states to fashion similar laws.

California is one of 20 states to require that all company-provided health plans must include contraception coverage if the plans have prescription drug benefits.

Catholics for a Free Choice led a coalition of progressive Catholic groups, including Catholics Speak Out/The Quixote Center, Dignity/USA, Vermont Catholics for a Free Conscience, California Catholics for a Free Choice, the Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual and the Women's Ordination Conference, to file an amici brief supporting the law and women's right to contraceptive access, while illustrating that Catholic Charities had no legal right to claim an exemption and no moral right to claim that the law violates their religious freedom.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Catholics for a Free Choice
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Catholic Health Care
Publication:Conscience
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Mar 22, 2004
Words:349
Previous Article:Bishops oppose gay marriage.
Next Article:Mexican Government licenses emergency contraception.
Topics:


Related Articles
Catholic Charities should not be exempt from contraception law, AU says. (People & Events).
Bishops in New York sue over new medical insurance law. (Catholic Health Care).
Coerced contraceptive coverage.
Catholic Charities must include birth control coverage, says court.
California court's deliberate intrusion into religion.
No religious exemption for Catholic Charities, says California court.
Storm clouds gathering: while the number of mergers wanes, the threats from the catholic hierarchy to reproductive health care continue.
An inconceivable argument: does a law ensuring equal access to prescription drugs mean that the catholic hierarchy will become morally complicit in...
Moral compass malfunction.
New York court upholds decision favoring women's rights.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters