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ShotGunShep
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#1 Posted on 1.3.04 1724.53
Reposted on: 1.3.11 1725.07
"Catholic Group Must Provide Birth Control


By PAUL ELIAS, Associated Press Writer

SAN FRANCISCO - In a precedent-setting decision, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday that a Roman Catholic charity must offer birth-control coverage to its employees even though the church considers contraception a sin.


The 6-1 decision marked the first such ruling by a state's highest court. Experts said the ruling could affect thousands of workers at Catholic hospitals and other church-backed institutions in California and prompt other states to fashion similar laws.


California is one of 20 states to require that all company-provided health plans must include contraception coverage if the plans have prescription drug benefits.


The high court said that Catholic Charities is no different from other businesses in California, where "religious employers" such as churches are exempt from the requirement. Catholic Charities argued that it, too, should be exempt.


But the Supreme Court ruled that the charity is not a religious employer because it offers such secular services as counseling, low-income housing and immigration services to people of all faiths, without directly preaching Catholic values.


In fact, Justice Joyce Werdegar wrote that a "significant majority" of the people served by the charity are not Catholic. The court also noted that the charity employs workers of differing religions.


The California Catholic Conference, which represents the church's policy position in the state, said it was disappointed with the ruling and feared that it could open the door to mandated insurance coverage of abortion.


"It shows no respect to our religious organizations," said spokeswoman Carol Hogan.


The American Civil Liberties Union (news - web sites) applauded the ruling and called it "a great victory for California women and reproductive freedom."


Justice Janice Rogers Brown was the lone dissenting judge. Brown wrote that the Legislature's definition of a "religious employer" is too limiting if it excludes faith-based nonprofit groups like Catholic Charities.


"Here we are dealing with an intentional, purposeful intrusion into a religious organization's expression of its religious tenets and sense of mission," Brown wrote. "The government is not accidentally or incidentally interfering with religious practice; it is doing so willfully by making a judgment about what is or is not a religion."


President Bush (news - web sites) in October nominated Brown to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. But Brown's appointment has been opposed by Senate Democrats who view her as a conservative activist who would limit abortion rights and oppose affirmative action.


Versions of the law considered in Monday's ruling have been adopted in the 20 states after lawmakers concluded private employee prescription plans without contraceptive benefits discriminated against women.


Civil-rights groups, health-care companies and Catholic organizations filed extensive position papers with the court. Most wrangled over the rights of a religion to practice what it preaches and the newly acquired rights of thousands of women employed by church-affiliated groups to be insured for contraceptives.


Catholic Charities has 183 full-time employees and had a $76 million budget in California in 2002. It does not demand that its workers be Catholic or share the church's philosophy.


The 20 states that require private-sector insurance coverage for prescription contraceptives are Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont and Washington."

I really don't get the ACLU. Sometimes they are on the money and sometimes, they come way out of left field. Shouldn't they be protecting the Catholic Church's choices?

Here is what really gets me.
"But the Supreme Court ruled that the charity is not a religious employer because it offers such secular services as counseling, low-income housing and immigration services to people of all faiths, without directly preaching Catholic values."
So they do good deeds and DON'T forcefully preach Catholic values. So what is everyone bitching about? It's not like they can't get free contraception at tons of other places.

What's next? Forcing Parochial schools to provide condoms in sex ed class?

Now I know that 90% of Catholics use birth control (at least that's what my theology teachers told us), but the Church has a stance on the issue.

What y'all think?
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spf
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#2 Posted on 1.3.04 1734.43
Reposted on: 1.3.11 1734.46
I feel like if you're going to run yourself like a business, even if it's going to be a non-profit, you need to follow the laws that go with that. They have chosen to create a non-profit organization that is not a direct branch of the church itself, and thus I have no problem with it being treated like any employer. I much prefer this than opening up a loophole where any organization that claims a religious linkage can be exempted from any state laws governing workplace rights.
redsoxnation
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#3 Posted on 1.3.04 1735.30
Reposted on: 1.3.11 1735.57
If I was an employee of a Catholic group in California, I'd be going to get as many prescriptions filled as possible because this means the prescription drug plan will be dropped by these groups quickly. They only have to offer birth control if they have a prescription drug plan as part of the benefits, so that'll be the way to get around the ruling. So, (far,far)Left Ideology wins, the 1st Amendment gets bloodied, and the workers for these groups get royally screwed. Sounds like the California Supreme Court's version of a perfect day.
Madame Manga
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#4 Posted on 1.3.04 2057.44
Reposted on: 1.3.11 2058.06
This reminds me of what happened when the state of California required insurance companies to cover developmental disorders such as autism and ADHD. Previous to this, they would accept your child on your plan and exclude coverage for the disorder, since the therapies and medications can run pretty high. But the kids were still covered for checkups and major medical.

Now they just refuse to take your autistic child, period. Catch-22 unless you lie about his diagnosis, which is probably what I should have done in the first place. Whatta improvement.

When is this whole disgusting system going to crash and burn, and when are we going to get some sort of universal health coverage in the United States? I'm about ready to truck-bomb something, figuratively speaking.

MM
Corajudo
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#5 Posted on 2.3.04 0750.41
Reposted on: 2.3.11 0750.56
I much prefer this than opening up a loophole where any organization that claims a religious linkage can be exempted from any state laws governing workplace rights.

I don't think it's that much of a stretch to make a religious linkage between Catholic Charities and the Catholic Church. Furthermore, I don't understand how it violates women's rights by not covering contraceptives (maybe that's why I'm not a lawmaker). Women don't have the market cornered on birth control devices. What about condoms? In a similar vein (no pun intended), are employers who provide health benefits compelled to cover vasectomies? And, as redsoxnation pointed out, we're about to see another example of the Law of Unintended Consequences as the group will end the prescription drug program rather than provide money for a practice that violates Church teaching (or, at least I hope they do).

I just wonder who filed the complaint. Did the ACLU just file it on their own? Did someone outside Catholic Charities bring this to the ACLU's attention to bring suit? Or, was some employee so short-sighted that they thought they could make Catholic Charities pay for their (someone else on their plan's) birth control? Either way, nice job. Now, no one will have a prescription drug benefit.
DrDirt
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#6 Posted on 2.3.04 1229.58
Reposted on: 2.3.11 1231.36
To be honest, I am not sure how I view this issue. I think the result as stated earlier is the elimination of drug benefits. Perhaps another answer is to eliminate health care altogether and give the employee a lump sum to find their own health insurance. I live in a state where birth control and elective surgery are not covered. Maybe just hire only Catholics and then you eliminate the problem. (please, it's a joke.)
Corajudo
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#7 Posted on 2.3.04 1259.21
Reposted on: 2.3.11 1300.03
    Originally posted by DrDirt
    To be honest, I am not sure how I view this issue. I think the result as stated earlier is the elimination of drug benefits. Perhaps another answer is to eliminate health care altogether and give the employee a lump sum to find their own health insurance. I live in a state where birth control and elective surgery are not covered. Maybe just hire only Catholics and then you eliminate the problem. (please, it's a joke.)


One other thing I thought of is that the article indicated that: But the Supreme Court ruled that the charity is not a religious employer because it offers such secular services as counseling, low-income housing and immigration services to people of all faiths, without directly preaching Catholic values.

So, maybe if they hand out rosaries with pamphlets on how to pray the rosary or require aid recipients to attend Mass or do some other type of proselyzation then they can qualify as a Catholic organization and keep the drug benefit but without the contraceptive coverage (or the morning after pill coverage, which is also required by California state law but obviously is contrary to Catholicism). Still, that's a pretty unsatisfactory answer as well.

And, there's also the continued litigation option via an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
redsoxnation
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#8 Posted on 2.3.04 1405.43
Reposted on: 2.3.11 1406.12
On a note away from religious organizations: Why the hell is the state defining what can and can not be in a private company's insurance package? The companies offer these as benefits on top of whatever financial renumeration an individual receives, what right does the state have regulating what a company can and cannot provide? Does private industry regulate state employee benefits? No. Then what right does the state have infringing on the individual employers? If an employee wants to work for a company offering X as benefits, that is their right. However, it should not be their right that the state rules that if a company offers X it must also offer Y as well. If an individual wants X and Y and a company is only offering X, then they can either accept X, or find a company that offers X and Y.
On Dr. Dirt's question of lump sum cash instead of benefits: Better rates through companies, the companies aren't going to give out more money than they pay now so the employee ends up losing more money out of pocket.
StaggerLee
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#9 Posted on 2.3.04 1433.25
Reposted on: 2.3.11 1433.40
Catholic Charities recieves Federal Funding somewhere along the line, and THAT is why they are required to provided FULL perscription coverage.

Vasectomies are an elective procedure, just like a nose job, or breast augmentation. Most insurance companies will only cover a portion of them.
Corajudo
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#10 Posted on 2.3.04 1637.49
Reposted on: 2.3.11 1637.49
Catholic Charities recieves Federal Funding somewhere along the line, and THAT is why they are required to provided FULL perscription coverage.


The federal funding and the prescription coverage issues are completely separate. An organization can receive federal funding without offering a prescription drug benefit to their employees. Reread the article--the issue is over a state law requiring private employers to include contraceptives in prescription drug benefit programs. The receipt of federal funding is irrelevant.

Vasectomies are an elective procedure, just like a nose job, or breast augmentation. Most insurance companies will only cover a portion of them.

How are birth control pills, morning after pills, or other birth control procedures for women not an elective procedure, while vasectomies are an elective procedure?

NOTE: I am excluding women whose primary reason to get a prescription for the pill is not to use the pill as birth control. In this case, I think that Catholic Charities would pay for the prescription because this would not be contrary to Church teaching.
MoeGates
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#11 Posted on 2.3.04 1745.09
Reposted on: 2.3.11 1747.32
When my wife went to Georgetown (a Catholic School) and used their insurance, she also used the pill "not as birth control" - as every other woman on the pill ended up doing in that University.

Of course, everyone knows the solution - universal, not-for-profit, government sponsored, single-payer health care. That would clear this whole mess right up.
Zeruel
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#12 Posted on 3.3.04 0007.23
Reposted on: 3.3.11 0007.31
    Originally posted by Madame Manga
    This reminds me of what happened when the state of California required insurance companies to cover developmental disorders such as autism and ADHD. Previous to this, they would accept your child on your plan and exclude coverage for the disorder, since the therapies and medications can run pretty high. But the kids were still covered for checkups and major medical.

    Now they just refuse to take your autistic child, period. Catch-22 unless you lie about his diagnosis, which is probably what I should have done in the first place. Whatta improvement.

    When is this whole disgusting system going to crash and burn, and when are we going to get some sort of universal health coverage in the United States? I'm about ready to truck-bomb something, figuratively speaking.

    MM


I dated a special ed teacher who specialized in autisim and she said that is a violation of the childs privacy rights, in Maryland, to inform the parents of the childs disorder. The only person who may tell the parents, in Maryland, is a clinical psychologist. All they, the teachers, are allowed to tell the parents is that the child is learning disabled.

(edited by rikidozan on 3.3.04 0108)
StaggerLee
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#13 Posted on 3.3.04 0802.25
Reposted on: 3.3.11 0802.59
    Originally posted by Corajudo
    How are birth control pills, morning after pills, or other birth control procedures for women not an elective procedure, while vasectomies are an elective procedure?


BCPs have uses other than simply preventing conception. They are routinely given to women who have had Hysterectomies to ensure thier hormone level is adequate.

Not sure about Tubal Ligation in as far as medical insurance paying for it.

However, BCP are different because they are a medication, not a medical procedure.
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