Planned Parenthood, the women’s reproductive heath organization that also provides abortions, has reassured Californians that the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling Monday in the Hobby Lobby case does not apply to the Golden State. Beth Parker, chief counsel for the organization, told Capitol Public Radio on Monday that the Hobby Lobby case does not overrule a 1999 California law, the California Women’s Contraceptive Equity Act.
The Act requires all health insurance contracts to cover “a variety of federal Food and Drug Administration approved prescription contraceptive methods.” It provides a religious exemption, but only for non-for-profit religious employers primarily employing persons of the same religious faith, not for-profit companies such as the closely-held, family-run businesses who were the litigants before the Supreme Court in Hobby Lobby.
Despite Planned Parenthood’s reading of the Supreme Court ruling and the state legislation, it is not clear that the Women’s Contraceptive Equity Act would force a for-profit employer to cover all “approved prescription contraceptive methods.” It refers only to “a variety” of methods. In the Hobby Lobby case, the company happily provided 16 of 20 contraceptives, excluding only those four that could also be considered abortifacients.