Last week’s signing of SB 1053 by Gov. Jerry Brown requiring most health plans in the state to cover a range of contraceptive methods was met with disappointment from California Catholic Conference officials, who had previously issued an “Action Alert” opposing the bill.

The birth control bill covers contraceptive drugs, devices and products for women in addition to voluntary sterilization procedures, and it runs counter to the limits some other states are placing on access to birth control, according to a Sept. 26 article in the Los Angeles Times.

“We were disappointed that Governor Brown chose to sign SB 1053,” said Ned Dolejsi, CCC’s executive director. “We were hoping that facts and fairness would trump ideology on this unnecessary and troublesome bill. It continues California’s disrespectful treatment of employers with a conscience and particularly those with a religiously formed conscience. Further, it goes beyond the Federal Affordable Care Act and requires that contraceptive drugs, instruments and procedures be available even more broadly than the federal law, at no cost to the individual. 

Dolejsi asserted that the law “will enshrine the disrespectful definition of religious employer for Church and our closely held public ministries. They are once again telling the Catholic ‘family’ that these are not our ‘family businesses.’ Even more sadly, the law does not offer, as the federal regulations do, an ‘accommodation’ for employers who do not wish to pay for all contraceptives, including those that prevent pregnancies by aborting fetuses.”

Most disturbing, said Dolejsi, is that “this law enshrines the myth that there is a ‘contraceptive access and equity’ problem in California. As we pointed out in 2000 when a similar law was passed, all objective documentation confirms the opposite.”