Catholic Charities’ birth control battle

The charity group tries to exclude contraceptives coverage for employees and fails, again.

Topics: Religion, Abortion, Broadsheet, Catholicism, Birth Control, Love and Sex,

Today marked the final round of the face-off between Catholic Charities and, put simply, the reproductive rights of women in the state of New York. The loser, by total knockout: Catholic Charities.

Praise the Lord!

Catholic Charities petitioned to have the right to deny employees birth control coverage, citing religious objections to the use of contraceptives. The problem, for Catholic Charities, is that New York’s Women’s Health and Wellness Act prevents employers from discriminating against birth control in employees’ health insurance prescription drug coverage. The act does provide a liberal exemption for organizations with “a mainly religious mission that primarily serve followers of that religion,” reports the Associated Press — but Catholic Charities doesn’t qualify for the exemption. Today, the Supreme Court decided against hearing the case and let stand a previous state ruling against the petition.

Catholic Charities is surely outraged. Shortly before the decision, the group offered this ironic gem: “If the state can compel church entities to subsidize contraceptives in violation of their religious beliefs, it can compel them to subsidize abortions as well,” the group argued. Oh, but look on the bright side: Perhaps covering birth control will make subsidizing abortions a lesser issue!

Tracy Clark-Flory

Tracy Clark-Flory is a staff writer at Salon. Follow @tracyclarkflory on Twitter and Facebook.

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