One of the most expensive benefits mandated by some states is infertility treatment. I was pleased to be interviewed by Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal for her article on the issue.
Ms. Shellenbarger quotes me as noting that 13 states mandate treatment for in vitro fertilization. Not reported is the rest of my comment: that this is a very expensive mandate, because women can fail to become pregnant and repeat the treatment as often as they want. I discussed this in my recent analysis of state benefit mandates, From Heart Transplants to Hairpieces.
Unfortunately, a federal judge has just upped the cost of these mandates, as reported by Ms. Shellenbarger. Finding that infertility treatment is protected by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the judge found that a plaintiff’s boss laid her off because of her extended absences due to infertility treatments. So, even though she was not pregnant at the time (obviously), she’s covered by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act!
As I discussed in From Heart Transplants to Hairpieces, the costs of these supposedly “pro-woman” anti-discrimination laws are borne fully by women, as lower wages, whether they undergo in vitro fertilization or not.
Look for women’s wages to fall versus men’s, for them to have more difficulty finding professional employment, and enter jobs with no health benefits at all, as a result of this judgment.
Ms. Shellenbarger called the court a “friend” to women for this decision. With friends like that, who needs enemies?