The state of California is continuing the Obama Era’s nationwide assault on religious freedom by deciding to classify abortion as “basic healthcare” and forcing churches to pay for the procedures through their employee insurance programs.
Michelle Rouillard, director of California’s Department of Managed Health Care, wrote in a letter to seven insurance companies in August that California’s constitution and a 1975 state law compels them to cover elective abortions, reported World Magazine.
The mandate was written in response to complaints regarding Santa Clara University and Loyola Marymount University’s refusal to cover abortions.
In challenging the mandate the Alliance Defending Freedom and Life Legal Defense Foundation have filed a complaint with the federal Department of Health and Human Services citing federal law.
The use of federal taxpayer funds to pay for elective abortions is prohibited by the Hyde Amendment, passed in 1976. Under another amendment, known as the Weldon Amendment, the federal government can withhold funding from states that don’t allow conscience objections in health insurance plans.
“California is flagrantly violating the federal law that protects employers from being forced into having abortion in their health insurance plans,” said Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Casey Mattox, according to World Magazine.
“No state can blatantly ignore federal law and think that it should continue to receive taxpayer money,” Mattox said.
Mattox has also urged the passage of the Healthcare Conscience Rights Act. The bill would enshrine the protections afforded in the Weldon Amendment in federal law.
The churches’ complaint comes on the heels of a recently released report from the Government Accountability Office. The report shows the federal government has likely already funded abortions because some insurers participating in Obamacare have not itemized abortion coverage separately, as is required.
Catherine Short, legal director at the Life Legal Defense Fund,believes California’s new abortion mandate is a response to political pressure from the abortion lobby.
“This move was a pure power play,” she said, according to World Magazine.. “We trust that the Department of Health and Human Services will take the necessary steps to bring the state into compliance with federal law.”
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