Massachusetts Contraception Subsidy Law Abhorrent

Catholic Action League Criticizes Contraception Subsidy Law

The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts today denounced the law expanding employer subsidized contraceptive coverage—Chapter 120 of the Acts of 2017—which Governor Charlie Baker signed this afternoon. The legislation will eliminate all remaining co-pays, reviews, and limitations on mandatory contraceptive coverage in group health insurance plans in the Commonwealth.

The measure passed the Massachusetts House of Representatives by a vote of 138 to 16 on November 8th. The state Senate concurred by a vote of 27 to 0 on November 13th. The law was promoted as a response to the Trump administration executive order defending the religious freedom rights of employers, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, who had conscientious objections to subsidizing birth control.

The Catholic Action League characterized the new law as “a coercive and gratuitous measure that is more about ideological enforcement than health care.”

Catholic Action League Executive Director C. J. Doyle made the following comment: “Birth control is legal, inexpensive and ubiquitously available in Massachusetts. It has been a mandatory part of employer sponsored group health insurance since 2002, and has been subsidized, for those meeting income guidelines, since Commonwealth Care began in 2006.”

“Under this new law, those who have moral objections to contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilizations will be compelled, in violation of their consciences, to subsidize, at an expanded level, procedures and practices which they find abhorrent.”

“Our constitutional and jurisprudential tradition has long maintained that a ‘reasonable accommodation’ ought to be granted to the sincerely held moral and religious beliefs of citizens. This absolutist legislation offers no such accommodation. Even the Deval Patrick administration admitted that the narrow religious exemption to the existing law—which will be continued under this new law—will not apply to most religious employers.”

“The ease and speed with which this legislation sailed through both houses of the General Court—despite nominal Catholic majorities in each chamber—and the ready assent given to it by a Republican governor, ought to remind the voters of Massachusetts that one of the Bay State’s most powerful special interests is Planned Parenthood.”