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US Supreme Court: Catholic Organization Must Continue to Cover Birth Control

The US Supreme Court denied review of a challenge to a California law that requires employers to include birth control for women in their prescription drug coverage. The California Supreme Court had ruled last March in Catholic Charities of Sacramento v. California that the anti-discrimination law did not interfere with religious beliefs or practices, and that Catholic Charities was required to provide prescription drug coverage for birth control. The law protects 1,600 employees of Catholic Charities, as well as 52,000 people who are employed by Catholic hospitals in the state, the San Francisco Gate reports. The law has an exemption that applies to churches, but not organizations whose mission and clientele are secular, like Catholic Charities. Twenty other states have a similar law enforcing coverage of birth control. The laws were created in response to the immediate inclusion of the male potency drug Viagra following federal approval. The San Francisco Gate reports that when the state law was passed in 2000, only half the health plans in California covered female contraception, causing women of childbearing age to pay up to 68 percent more for health care than men. States with contraceptive equity laws include Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Vermont, Delaware, Iowa, Rhode Island, Missouri, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, Arizona, Massachusetts, New York, and Illinois. LEARN MORE about the Feminist Majority Foundation’s campaign to expand access to EC on college campuses DONATE to support FMF’s work to win over-the-counter status for emergency contraception

Sources:

San Francisco Gate 10/5/04; Feminist News 3/2/04

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