New York Court Ruling May Lead to Catholic Group Funding Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 19, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New York Court Ruling May Force Catholic Group to Fund Abortions Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 19
, 2006

Albany, NY ( — The New York Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Catholic and other religious social services groups must fund contraception in their employees’ health care plans. The ruling has pro-life advocates worried because it could lead to forcing the Christian groups to fund abortions as well.

Even though the groups are opposed to contraception, the state’s high court ruled in a unanimous 6-0 ruling that Catholic Charities and nine other organizations must fund it anyway.

"We must weigh against (their) interests in adhering to the tenets of their faith the state’s substantial interest in fostering equality between the sexes, and in providing women with better health care," the court ruled according to an AP report.

The New York Catholic Conference is considering appealing the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court and says it’s concerned the decision will lead to forcing it to pay for employee abortions.

"We think this has never really been about contraception, we think it was to target the church and open the door for coverage of abortion," Dennis Poust, spokesman for the Catholic conference, told the Associated Press.

But, abortion advocates told AP they applauded the ruling.

"Today’s ruling shows that no one is above the law, including the Catholic bishops," said Kelli Conlin, president of NARAL’s New York affiliate. "No employer should be able to force their beliefs upon their employees."

The ruling regarded the 2002 Women’s Health Wellness Act, a measure the state legislature approved that required employers to cover a range of women’s health care, including prescription contraception.

A lower court and state appeals court also ruled against Catholic Charities in its efforts to be exempted from the requirement.

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