The following comes from an Aug. 22 story on the website of the Cardinal Newman Society.
California Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration announced today that it will force Loyola Marymount University (LMU) and Santa Clara University (SCU)—as well as any other religious nonprofit or business—to violate their deeply held beliefs and provide employees insurance coverage for elective abortion, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The decision has an impact far beyond LMU and SCU by forcing any California organization that is not self-insured to provide “elective” abortion services as part of its health plans – an action that clearly violates the Weldon Amendment, which prevents states from mandating that a health insurance plan includes abortion coverage.
“The Obama administration and Congress made a promise to the American people, that no federal dollars would flow to programs that force abortion coverage upon employees, especially those who find abortion to be morally repugnant,” said Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick J.Reilly. “Governor Brown is in violation of federal law, and he needs to respect religious freedom or lose all federal funding for California’s health and human services programs.”
“All employers in California who have the opportunity to self-insure should look into the option, so that Governor Brown no longer has the authority to force abortion coverage on their employees,” Reilly said.
The Cardinal Newman Society recently reported that California’s Department of Managed Health Care was reconsidering its approval of employee health plans for LMU and SCU, which do not cover any “elective” abortion that is not “medically necessary.”
The Department reportedly sent letters Friday to insurers for both of the universities, alerting them of the change. According to the Chronicle, the letters state that the previous exclusions violate the 1975 state law which calls for all basic services to be covered by any group health plan.
Santa Clara president Michael Engh reportedly said before the reversal was announced, “Our core commitments as a Catholic university are incompatible with the inclusion of elective abortion in the university’s health plan.”
Until this situation unfolded, California insurers had covered all abortions, elective or otherwise, as medically necessary within their respective health plans. Brown’s administration has heeded the pressure from abortion-rights advocates in this reversal.
As reported by Breitbart News Network, chief counsel for Planned Parenthood Beth Parker said, “We’re thrilled the state is complying with California law and ensuring that women of California have access to all reproductive health services.”
To read original story, click here.
You can’t force this
The following comes from an Aug. 22 release from Alliance Defending Freedom.
Life Legal Defense Foundation and Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter Friday to the California Department of Managed Health Care condemning its decision to force two Jesuit universities to cover elective abortions in their health insurance plans. The letter alleges that the decision violates federal law, under which the state cannot mandate that a health insurance plan include abortion coverage without forfeiting federal funds.
“Faith-based organizations should be free to operate according to the faith they espouse and live out on a daily basis,” said ADF Senor Legal Counsel Matthew Bowman. “When Congress enacted the Weldon Amendment, it sought to ensure that the government could never strong-arm pro-life employers into paying for abortion coverage; therefore, California’s decision is illegal. No state can ignore federal law in a pursuit to conform everyone to the state’s own ideology on abortion.”
The letter, sent on behalf of the Cardinal Newman Society, explains that because of the Weldon Amendment, “DMHC cannot deny approval to or otherwise penalize a health insurance plan for failing to provide coverage of some or all abortions. In its failed lawsuit against the Amendment, California admitted that all of its departments are subject to the Amendment due to some of those departments receiving over $40 billion in federal funds.”
“The DMHC’s action is a clear violation of the Weldon Amendment and, if not reversed, could trigger loss of funding to the entire state and its departments.,” the letter adds. “If DMHC does not reverse its decision, we are prepared to file complaints with the Office of Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services.”
“Under federal law, pro-life employers have the freedom to choose health insurance plans that do not conflict with their beliefs on the dignity of human life,” added LLDF Legal Director Catherine Short. “Already under Obamacare’s mandates, employers and individuals are required to purchase health insurance coverage they may not need or want. California cannot be allowed to discriminate against health plans that don’t cover elective abortions and force people to purchase coverage that conflicts with their convictions.”