California to Challenge "Back-Door" Anti-Abortion Provision
Attorney General Bill Lockyer of California announced yesterday that he will go to court to challenge the constitutionality of an anti-abortion provision signed into law this week by President Bush as part of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill for 2005. The amendment, misleadingly titled the “Abortion Non-Discrimination Act” and also known as the Federal Refusal Clause, will not only allow health care professionals, hospitals, and health insurance providers to refuse to comply with state laws protecting a woman’s right to an abortion while still accepting state funding, but it will also disallow states from enforcing these laws due to the threat of loss of a wide range of federal funding, even those unrelated to reproductive health, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“This is an unacceptable attack on women’s rights and state sovereignty, and a back-door attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Lockyer said. “With this provision, what the federal government says to California is this: If you want back your own taxpayer dollars for important programs that serve all the people of your state, you first have to refuse to protect the constitutional rights of the women who live in your state. That is wrong, it is unlawful, and I will fight to make sure it doesn’t happen.”
The anti-abortion provision will affect several California state laws, including the state constitutional right to privacy which requires California to remain neutral on the subject of abortion; a law requiring public hospitals and clinics to offer abortions if they also provide prenatal care; Medi-Cal regulations that provide payment for poor women’s abortion services; a law that allows California to withhold state funding from institutions that discourage women from having an abortion; and a law requiring school health clinics to offer abortion counseling and referrals, among others, reports San Francisco Chronicle.
Lockyer’s announcement was endorsed by California Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. Lockyer is thought to be a likely Democratic candidate for California’s 2006 gubernatorial race against current Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, reports Reuters.
11/20/2014 Federal Appeals Court Rejects Priests for Life Challenge to Birth Control Coverage Rule - In a victory for women's health, a unanimous panel of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit on Friday rejected a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive coverage benefit brought by Priests for Life, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington and other religiously affiliated non-profit organizations.
Judge Nina Pillard, a former law professor who was nominated to the DC Circuit by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate in December, wrote the opinion for the Court, which found that the ACA birth control benefit did not substantially burden or violate non-profits' religious freedom.
Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies must cover the full cost of all FDA-approved contraceptives - including the pill, IUDs, and emergency contraception - without requiring co-pays or cost-sharing. . . .