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:: 3.02.2004 ::  



Two pieces of good news...
California Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Contraceptive Equity

On March 1, 2004, in a resounding victory for California women and contraceptive equity, the California Supreme Court ruled 6-1 that Catholic Charities, a Roman Catholic charitable organization, must cover contraception in its prescription coverage program.

In 1999, the State Legislature passed the Women's Contraception Equity Act (WCEA) requiring health plans that include prescription benefits to cover contraception as well. The WCEA also stated that “religious employers,” such as churches, are exempt from this rule, providing that they meet the following criteria:
- The purpose of the organization is to instill religious values
- The organization only hires employees of its religious faith
- The organization only serves people of its religious faith.

To block the Women's Contraception Equity Act from going into effect, Catholic Charities of Sacramento sued in Catholic Charities of Sacramento, Inc., v. Superior Court of Sacramento County, contending that the new law infringed on its religious rights. Catholic Charities lost the case and eventually appealed to the California Supreme Court. In its decision, the Court noted that Catholic Charities was no different than any other business because one does not have to be Catholic to either work at the organization or receive services and therefore is not a religious employer exempt of the provisions of the WCEA.

"Moreover, Catholic Charities serves people of all faith backgrounds, a significant majority of whom do not share its Roman Catholic faith," wrote Justice Kathryn Werdegar in the majority opinion.
You can read the story here, courtesy of Planned Parenthood. Did you know that women spend 68% more on out-of-pocket health costs than men, mostly because of reproductive health costs? Wow. You may already know that the vast majority of employment-related insurance policies in the U.S. do not cover prescription contraceptive drugs or devices, but they all cover Viagra. I wonder if Catholic Charities endorses the use of erectile dysfunction drugs, while simultaneously fighting tooth-and-nail to keep from covering birth control pills? You can read more about it and take action for reproductive equity here. It's interesting that Bush's pet faith-based charities initiative has had this (for him and for them) undesirable - possibly unforseen? - side effect.

and this one's from last week...
Court Allows Medicinal Use of Marijuana
By Dean E. Murphy
New York Times
February 27, 2004


San Francisco -- The federal appeals court here has refused to reconsider its ruling that allows Californians to grow and use marijuana to treat their illnesses.

The Bush administration had asked the court, for the Ninth Circuit, to hold a new hearing on that ruling, issued by a three-judge panel in December on a lawsuit filed by two women with chronic illnesses. But in an order issued Wednesday and made public on Thursday, the court denied the request.
Thanks to Mykey for this link!

:: Deb 1:02 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::


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