Court Rules: Catholic Charities Must Pay for Birth Control

March 2, 2004

Source: The New York Times

On March 2, 2004 The New York Times reported that "the California Supreme Court ruled Monday that Catholic Charities must provide its employees in California with medical coverage for birth control, in spite of its religious objections to contraception. The ruling has sweeping implications for religion-based nonprofit organizations and hospitals throughout the state and could influence decisions made in at least 20 other states that have similar laws requiring employers to provide contraception as part of employee health coverage, legal experts said. A similar case, brought by Catholic and Protestant organizations, is winding its way through the New York courts. Ned Dolejsi, executive director of the California Catholic Conference, said the court's decision was a sign of the times. 'We're very disappointed in the ruling and sad that this is apparently an indication of where our society is at this time in terms of its respect for religious diversity,' Mr. Dolejsi said. The United States Supreme Court has narrowed its protection of religious practices, a move legal scholars attribute to its reluctance to force judges to weigh the relative merits of church and state interests."