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Albany Diocese challenges New York abortion coverage mandate

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  • Staff Report 

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, along with other religious groups, challenged a New York regulation in the state’s highest court on Tuesday. The lawsuit seeks to overturn a mandate that requires health insurance policies to include coverage for medically necessary abortions, arguing it violates their religious beliefs. The rule, instituted by state financial regulators in 2017 and later solidified into law in 2022, is under scrutiny although the broader law remains unchallenged for now.

During the proceedings at the Court of Appeals, discussions focused on the religious exemptions provided by the rule. Attorneys debated whether these exemptions were sufficiently broad, allowing officials excessive discretion in deciding which organizations are exempt from the mandate. The case could have wider implications for abortion access in New York if the regulation is overturned, potentially paving the way for future challenges against the law itself.

The outcome of this pivotal case is pending, following a directive from the U.S. Supreme Court in 2021 that the lower courts reconsider the Diocese’s challenge. The Court of Appeals’ decision could influence how religious organizations are mandated to cover health services that conflict with their beliefs.