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-California Mandates Abortion Insurance Coverage Even for Religious Institutions

by Dr. D ~ October 2nd, 2014

English: California State Capitol.

                                    (California State Capitol: Wikipedia)

The State of California has gone beyond the Obama administration’s HHS Mandate and now requires health insurance coverage for abortions for any reason even for religious institutions.

The California Catholic Conference has filed a federal lawsuit against the recent state ruling. Here’s the story from the Catholic News Service:

The Department of Managed Health Care issued its administrative ruling after abortion advocacy groups complained when Santa Clara University and Loyola Marymount University altered their health insurance plans this year to exclude voluntary abortion coverage. …

The state Department of Managed Health Care’s Aug. 22 letter to the heads of eight different health insurance plans ordered them to amend their current health plans and remove any exclusions regarding voluntary abortions on the basis that abortion for any reason was "basic health care" and could not be excluded. The directive was issued to Aetna, Anthem/Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, GEM Care, Health Net, Kaiser Permanente and UnitedHealthcare.

<Read the whole article>

Response: Leave it to California to go one step beyond trumping religious rights in the progressive name of abortion. In a letter of complaint from the Calif. Catholic Conference included the following response:

"For the first time in California — indeed, for the first time anywhere in the United States — health plans are now required, as a matter of regulatory fiat, to cover all legal abortions, even late-term abortions, for any reason."

Interestingly the Conference is expecting the Obama HHS to respond negatively to the DMHC action and maybe even withhold federal funds due to the provisions of the 2005 Weldon bill:

"None of the funds available in this act may be made available to a federal agency or program, or to a state or local government, if such agency, program, or government subjects any institutional or individual health care entity to discrimination on the basis that the health care entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions."

The Catholic Conference would seem to have a valid point and it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Meanwhile this is another example where freedom of religion and conscience is being compromised in America in spite of a Constitution that is suppose to guarantee that no government action is taken against it.             *Top

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6 Responses to -California Mandates Abortion Insurance Coverage Even for Religious Institutions

  1. mark

    Has nothing to do with religious rights…no such thing as religious rights anyway. Religious people have the same rights as non religious people. This is about women’s reproductive health embedded in the concept of quality health care.

  2. Dr. D

    If religious institutions are forced by the government to pay more $ for additional coverage that is actually against their closely held beliefs and doctrines then it certainly is about the First Amendment and freedom of religion. In reality, California administrators in this case have decided that “women’s reproductive health embedded in the concept of quality health care” trumps religious freedom.
    This may make sense to secular folks who view religion as not as important but not so much for religious people. For us this is another example of government oppression and intrusion into matters of faith which the First Amendment is suppose to address.

  3. mark

    Yes, it’s the clash of the Titans, one perspective vs. the other and I am sorry for the angst caused by the conflict, but one must choose sides, unfortunately, wish both things could co-exist.

  4. Dr. D

    Good response mark,
    If the secular perspective continues to grow in America then there will naturally be more of these kind of conflicts. This did not happen in past generations when Americans were by in large far more religious. The current make up of SCOTUS is somewhat holding back the tide for now but future justices may choose to re-interpret the Constitution and the Amendments to reflect a more secular society. For me this would result in more sadness than angst.

  5. Brian

    Mark – Consider this: If the government can order a church-related group to pay for abortions, and can ignore any religious belief in order to treat all religious groups the same as non-religious groups, then what can a government NOT demand of a religious group?

    For example, could a government order religious groups to perform homosexual weddings? After all, states that recognize homosexual weddings now require county clerks and justices of the peace to perform them — so by your logic, all religious groups must be required to perform such weddings, since recognition of homosexual union is recognized (in some states) by law in a secular context. Therefore, to treat religious groups equally, should we not require them to recognize homosexual unions?

    Extending that logic further, what then can a government not require a religious group to do? Require that a Jewish school serve pork to meet state nutritional guidelines? Impose membership rules upon churches (after all some universities have already required Christian organizations on campus to desist from requiring that members be Christians)? Or impose some other demand that we cannot even conceive of at this time? The freedom of religion clause of the US Constitution becomes meaningless if the government can impose its will, without restriction, upon religious bodies.

    And, Mark, this is not just about the rights of religious bodies — if the government is free to mandate compliance with its demands upon religious bodies, and is unfettered by the freedom of religion clause of the US Constitution, then what constitutional right do you as an individual have that the government cannot ignore?


  6. mark

    It could happen, gay weddings could be mandatory in the sense of non sexual discrimination. As far as forced nutritional guidelines, I don’t see how that could be mandated ( under what constitutional authority). There is no provision that says that religious discrimination is illegal that I am aware of. So for one of your examples I’d guess yes, but that is very iffy as religious institutions are not governmental unless they have some funding from the government.

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