In the first federal case of its kind, the U.S. District Court in Western Washington has ordered Bartell Drug Company to provide prescription coverage for contraceptives for its female employees. The court declared that excluding contraceptives from the company’s health coverage constitutes sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The case was taken on as a class-action suit by Planned Parenthood of Western Washington. Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, called today’s decision a major victory, and said, “Prescription birth control is basic health care for women.” Yesterday, the court agreed, writing in its decision, “Male and female employees have different, sex-based disability and health-care needs, and the law is no longer blind to the fact that only women can get pregnant, bear children, or use prescription contraception.”
The court ordered Bartell not only to provide coverage for prescription contraception, but to cover contraception-related services, such as the initial visit to the prescribing health care provider and any required follow-up visits to ensure accessibility.
For more information on the case, visit Cover My Pills: Fair Access to Contraception.