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Contraception Coverage Still Required In California Despite SCOTUS Ruling

Contraception coverage will still be available to California employees of Hobby Lobby and other private family-owned businesses who object on religious grounds — despite Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision.

KPBS Evening Edition host Amita Sharma speaks with Glenn Smith, a constitutional law professor at California Western School of Law and Susan Channick, law professor and co-director of California Western School of Law's Institute for Health Law Studies, about the Supreme Court ruling that some companies can refuse to cover contraception.

The ruling appears to have left intact a 15-year-old California law called the California Women’s Contraceptive Equity Act, signed by Gov. Gray Davis in 1999.

“It ensures that insurance companies must provide coverage for a variety of FDA-approved contraception,” says Planned Parenthood chief counsel Beth Parker.


She says the California law survives the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, and it covers employees, spouses and dependents – even teenage daughters – with exemptions only for self-insured and non-profit religious employers.

What it doesn’t cover are co-pays. “So as a result, even though women can get health care coverage of contraception in California, they now may have to co-pay for it,” Parker says.

A bill at the state Capitol would require co-pays to be covered as well. It passed the Senate earlier this year and is now in the Assembly.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, one of the plaintiffs’ legal groups, declined comment until it can review the Supreme Court ruling’s effect on the California law.