Court Upholds Contraceptive Coverage; Osteoporosis Risk

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(WOMENSENEWS)–

Cheers

The New York State Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit by the Catholic Church seeking to exempt some employers from having to include contraceptives as part of the package of prescription drugs they offer employees.

The suit, filed by Catholic Charities of Albany, sought an exemption from the law Women’s Health and Wellness Act. While the law is not imposed on churches or seminaries, affiliate organizations such as charities, are expected to comply with the act.

In a ruling made public last week, the court said: “Plaintiffs’ religious tenets with regard to contraception are entitled to respect. However, the exemption that Plaintiffs seek would impose their beliefs on their religiously diverse work force. The act legitimately operates to prevent that result.”

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports that contraceptives are crucial in planning for children, a choice which often benefits the health of mothers and their babies. “To ignore the health benefits of contraception is to say that the alternative of 12 to 15 pregnancies during a woman’s lifetime is medically acceptable,” said Catherine Hanson, attorney for the American College Obstetricians and Gynecologists, reported The Seattle Times.

Tuesday brought a challenge to the law as the California Supreme Court heard arguments from the Catholic Charities of Sacramento, a Catholic Church affiliate also seeking exemption from the law.

For now, family planning advocates are savoring the ruling in New York. “This is a tremendous victory for the women of New York State who can now get the preventive health care they need and deserve,” said Gloria Feldt, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a statement issued after the decision.


Jeers

Fracture treatments for older women often fail to detect osteoporosis, the debilitating condition that results in brittle bones.

According to a study published in the December issue of The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, treatments of fractures in older women often do not follow the clinical guidelines for treating osteoporosis.

“These guidelines suggest that older women with fragility fractures should either be treated for clinically apparent osteoporosis or they should have bone mineral density measurements, followed by treatment when appropriate,” wrote Dr. Adrianne C. Feldstein, a preventive medicine physician.

Feldstein added that less than 50 percent of women in the study population received a bone-mineral-density measurement or medication to help treat their condition.

Women make up 68 percent of the 44 million U.S. citizens suffering from the threat of osteoporosis, according to the National Institutes of Health. According to the study, a woman’s lifetime risk of sustaining an osteoporotic fracture is 50 percent.

“Every patient who has had a low-energy fracture should consider, ‘I broke a bone. Maybe I have weak bones. I need to discuss this possibility with my physician,'” said Feldstein.

–Carline Bennett.

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