Catholic Charities of Sacramento County v. Superior Court of Sacramento County
Pacific Reporter, 3d Series, 2004; 85: 67-108
Court Decision: 85 Pacific Reporter, 3d Series 67; 2004 March 1 (date of decision). The California Supreme Court agreed with a lower court decision that the state's Women's Contraception Equity Act (WCEA) requires employers who provide prescription drug benefits in their health care insurance plans to include prescription contraception coverage. Catholic Charities of Sacramento challenged the constitutionality of the provision, specifically with regard to its right to the free exercise of religion. The court held that Catholic Charities was not entitled to an exemption as it did not meet the criteria of a "religious employer" as delineated in WCEA. Furthermore, WCEA "served a compelling state interest in the elimination of ... gender discrimination in the provision of health benefits"; had a "secular legislative purpose"; was valid and neutral; and neither advanced or inhibited religion.
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