By Hilary white

NEW YORK, January 16, 2006 ( – A New York state law requiring employers to pay for contraception as part of medical insurance packages, has been upheld in a 3-2 decision. Nearly a dozen groups, including Catholic Charities of the Albany Diocese attempted to gain a temporary injunction against the law which they said violates their freedom of religion. The case will likely now go to a higher court for appeal.

The Women’s Health and Wellness Act passed in June 2002 and has not been enacted pending the outcome of the legal challenge. Richard E. Barnes, executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference, objected to the arguments of “family planning” groups that contraception must be held in the same category as mammograms and cervical cancer checkups, which the law also includes.

“This case is not about the right to contraception,” said Barnes. “We have never challenged employees’ right to use contraception. We have simply maintained that our religious beliefs prevent us from paying for something we teach is sinful.”

Read previous coverage: