New York court rules Catholic Church must pay for ‘medically necessary’ abortion coverage

abortion, catholic church

A New York Court of Appeals has rejected a challenge by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany to a state law that requires all employers to offer “medically necessary” abortion coverage under their health insurance policies.

“Medically necessary” abortions are defined as “necessary to prevent, diagnose, correct, or cure conditions in the person that cause acute suffering, endanger life, result in illness or infirmity, interfere with a person’s capacity for normal activity, or threaten some significant handicap.” Exactly what qualifies is said to be up to the discretion of the abortionist.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany and other church groups challenged the 2017 rule on the basis that its religious exemptions were too narrow. The only organizations exempt from the rule were those non-profits whose primary purpose was the “inculcation of religious values” and who employed and served those who shared those beliefs. Under those guidelines, the Catholic Church, which both serves and employs a wide variety of people who are not necessarily Catholic, would be excluded from any religious exemptions.

“DFS’s actions have ensured that women in New York have control over their reproductive choices, and that insurers cover abortions and contraceptives with no copayments, deductibles or any out-of-pocket costs,” Department of Financial Services Superintendent Adrienne Harris said in a statement.

Gov. Kathy Hochul weighed in on the court’s ruling, calling the churches “right wing extremists” for fighting a mandate that states they must pay for the killing of preborn children. “While right-wing extremists attempt to undermine our fundamental freedoms, New York will continue standing strong to protect women’s health care and safeguard abortion rights,” Hochul said.

READ: Congressmen demand answers on alleged poor treatment of jailed pro-lifers

The New York State Catholic Conference decried both the court’s ruling and Hochul’s statement.

“We continue to believe that the regulatory action by the state, as well as subsequent legislative action, requiring religious organizations to provide and pay for coverage of abortion in its employee health plans is unconstitutional and unjust,” Dennis Poust, executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference, said in a statement. “It will come as a surprise to exactly no one that abortion violates the tenets of the Catholic Church. By forcing this mandate on our ministries, the state has unconstitutionally entangled itself in the free exercise of our faith.”

The Diocese has said it will appeal to the Supreme Court.

Editor’s Note 5/24/24: This article was updated with more details on medical necessity.

The DOJ put a pro-life grandmother in jail for protesting the killing of preborn children. Please take 30-seconds to TELL CONGRESS: STOP THE DOJ FROM TARGETING PRO-LIFE AMERICANS.

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