FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
UNION OF ORTHODOX JEWISH CONGREGATIONS EXPRESSES DISAPPOINTMENT WITH SUPREME COURT FOR FAILING TO PROTECT RELIGIOUS FREEDOM OF CATHOLIC (AND OTHER) CHARITIES
Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, through its Institute for Public Affairs, expressed disappointment in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, announced today, not to review a case in which New York State’s highest court ruled that the state may compel a religious organization to include contraceptives in its employees’ health insurance plan. The UOJCA and the other groups contended that the state court ruling is at odds with fundamental principles of religious liberty and hoped that the Court would reverse the state court ruling.
The case is Catholic Charities of Albany v. Superintendent of Insurance. It arose out of New York’s enactment of a law (the Women’s Health & Wellness Act) which requires all group insurance policies that include coverage for prescription drugs to include contraceptive drugs or devices in their coverage. While the “WHWA” includes an exemption for “religious employers” from this mandate, the WHWA defines religious employers so narrowly as to exclude Catholic Charities, and similar entities, because (in this case) they employ persons other than Catholics and serve people in need other than Catholics.
Nathan Diament, director of the UOJCA’s Institute for Public Affairs, issued the following statement:
We are disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear this case. The First Amendment demands appropriate exemptions and accommodations of religious practice and belief and demands we not tolerate laws which pick favorites among faith for protections as the WHWA does.
For more commentary and analysis of this issue based on a similar ruling from California’s Supreme Court, click here.