The Trump administration is making a stand against California’s brazen disregard for First Amendment rights in forcing all employers, including churches and religious institutions, to pay for health insurance plans that cover abortions.
On Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that California is violating federal law with its regulations, under which all abortions are treated as “basic healthcare” and “medically necessary.”
Of course, by no definition can deliberately taking a life be considered “healthcare.”
The HHS Office for Civil Rights announced that it issued California with a Notice of Violation, formally warning the state that it cannot impose universal abortion coverage mandates that violate federal conscience laws.
The announcement came on the morning of the 47th annual March for Life, which Trump became the first U.S. president to ever attend.
California has deprived over 28,000 people of plans that did not cover elective abortion, but now must cover abortion due to California’s mandate, according to HHS.
“With this Notice, OCR requests that California inform OCR, within thirty days, whether California will continue to enforce its requirement that all health plans cover elective abortions, or whether it will agree to take corrective action and remedy the effect of its discriminatory conduct,” HHS said in a press release.
The press release continues:
If, after 30 days, OCR does not receive sufficient assurance that California will come into compliance with federal law, OCR will forward the Notice of Violation and the evidence supporting OCR’s findings in this matter to the HHS funding components from which California receives funding for appropriate action under applicable grants and contracts regulations. This action may ultimately result in limitations on continued receipt of certain HHS funds.
“No one in America should be forced to pay for or cover other people’s abortions,” said Roger Severino, Director of OCR. “We are putting California on notice that it must stop forcing people of good will to subsidize the taking of human life, not only because it’s the moral thing to do, but because it’s the law,” Severino concluded.
According to Alliance Defending Freedom, California churches weren’t even notified when abortion coverage was added to their employee health plans.
Last year, the California Supreme Court ruled against the Missionary Guadalupanas of the Holy Spirit, reinterpreting a 1974 law to mean that abortion is “medically necessary” and demanding that the charity’s health insurance cover abortions for employees.
But OCR is favoring the Missionaries, however, who sought their help along with Skyline Wesleyan Church.
OCR cited the Weldon Amendment, which was renewed last month as part of the December government spending bills.
The amendment prohibits federal agencies and programs, as well as state and local governments that receive LHHS funding, from discriminating against health care professionals, health care facilities, health insurance plans, and other health care entities “on the basis that the health care entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions” without any exceptions.
HHS also noted that this isn’t it’s first tango with California, who last year was found in violation of the Weldon and Coats-Snowe Amendments when it “subjected pregnancy resource centers in the state to potential fines and discrimination for refusing to post notices referring for free or low-cost abortions.”
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