Civil Rights Commission ruled recently that small insurance
companies that cover prescription drugs must also cover the cost of href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oral_contraceptives"
Firms with more than 15 employees are already under the jurisdiction of
federal law, so the ruling affects only small companies. But
the ruling will have a wide impact: 60% of firms in Michigan are
This ruling is consistent with recommendations from major medical
organizations, such as the href="http://www.acog.org/acog_sections/dist_notice.cfm?recno=49&bulletin=1446"
rel="tag">American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
I first heard about this on NPR, as
rel="tag">Charity Nebbe read about it on the news.
She mentioned one objection that had been raised: that the
directive would raise the cost of providing insurance, which might
cause some employers to drop insurance coverage for their employees.
I was happy to hear Ms. Nebbe follow that up with a comment,
that studies have shown it saves money for insurance companies to cover
oral contraceptives. The decrease in childbirth more than
offsets the cost of the prescriptions.
In the Detroit News article (linked above), another
objeciton was mentioned:
But the Michigan Catholic Conference — the major
opponent, since the church is opposed to the use of birth control —
testified in May that a sex discrimination ruling would trump religious
“Religious freedom is a key principle and a key civil right,” said Paul
Long, vice president of public policy. “We express deep concern this
was a violation of one right to the exclusion of another.”
Perhaps the Detroit News erred by not providing the
entire quote (there is no way to tell if something was left out.)
However, the little snippet they provided does not seem like
much of an argument. It is not at all clear how this ruling
is an infringement on anyone’s religious freedom. (Unless
religious freedom is to be construed as the right to disobey laws that
one does not agree with.)