Texas
8:18 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Texas Joins States Challenging Contraception Coverage

Texas has joined six other states challenging the constitutionality of the federal mandate that requires contraceptive coverage in all employee healthcare benefits.

A fracas erupted earlier this month when Catholic organizations protested a requirement in the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature health care reforms, that employer health insurance would cover contraception. The Texas Tribune reports:

Opposition to the contraception rule has been heated in Texas. Catholic-run businesses have been vocally opposed to the rule. Seton Healthcare Family, a nonprofit hospital system that serves 1.8 million Texans, vowed not to change their policies to include contraceptives in employee’s health care coverage.

But many religious organizations that opposed the rule, including Seton, were appeased when President Obama revised the contraception rule this month to exempt religious organizations. The rule now requires insurance companies to ensure that women who work for exempted religious organizations receive contraceptive coverage. 

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said in a press release “The President’s so called ‘accommodation’ was nothing but a shell game: the mandate still requires religious organizations to subsidize and authorize conduct that conflicts with their religious principles.” The state joins Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, and South Carolina in the lawsuit.

Texas is a hotbed in the battle over contraception, abortion and women’s reproductive health. Recently, Texas passed a bill requiring a transvaginal sonogram prior to abortion; a similar measure was proposed in Virginia but lawmakers backed off the requirement. And yesterday, it was announced a law prohibiting "affiliates of abortion providers" like Planned Parenthood from participating in the Texas Women's Health Program.

You can view the lawsuit here.