Catholic Charities of Sacramento Inc. v. The Superior Court of Sacramento County
California’s Contraception Equity Act is a protective health measure that promotes important workers’ rights. No constitutional principle prohibits Catholic Charities’ employees from receiving the protection this law affords to millions of workers throughout the state.
The Women’s Contraception Equity Act (“Contraception Equity Act”) requires employment health insurance policies that include prescription drug benefits to cover contraception. Insurance Code Section 10123.196; Health and Safety Code Section 1367.25. The Legislature enacted this workers’ health measure to address California’s high rate of unplanned pregnancy, which results in part from the failure of many health insurance plans to cover contraception.
Catholic Charities, a social service nonprofit organization, claims that the state and federal Constitutions prevent the state from ensuring that its employees receive insurance for health care that violates Catholic theological doctrine. But the agency’s religious rights do not trump its employees’ health. Neither free exercise nor establishment clause principles support Catholic Charities’ noncompliance with California’s important health policy.