Court Upholds Bonacic’s Women’s Health And Wellness Act

John J. Bonacic

January 02, 2008

State Senator John J. Bonacic (R/I/C - Mount Hope) announced today that in a unanimous opinion authored by Judge Robert Smith, the Appellate court upheld the validity of the Women's Health and Wellness Act.

The Act requires health insurance companies to provide coverage for a variety of services needed by women, including mammography, cervical cytology, and bone density screening. It also requires policies that provide coverage for prescription drugs to include coverage for contraception. In this case, Catholic Charities challenged the validity of the contraception provision of the legislation asserting that the provision violates their rights under the religion clauses of the federal and State Constitutions.

"I am delighted with the court's opinion," stated Senator Bonacic. "The enactment of this legislation is one of my proudest accomplishments relating to health care services. It ends discrimination against women for having different physical health needs than men do."

Judge Robert Smith wrote, "The legislative history makes clear that the Women's Health and Wellness Act in general, and the provisions relating to contraception in particular, were designed to advance both women's health and the equal treatment of men and women."

Senator Bonacic said that he authored the legislation because study and study showed that women paid 68% more than men in out-of-pocket expenses for health care, and that the cost of reproductive health services was a primary reason for the discrepancy. "This was blatantly unfair to women," continued Senator Bonacic.

Senator Bonacic concluded, "The Women's Health and Wellness Act passed with bipartisan support in 2002. It has permitted women enhanced access to health care and ensures that their needs are addressed much more thoroughly. The court's ruling helps our mothers, sisters, and wives, and as a result improves the lives of entire families."