The Obama Administration is supporting a California law that forces churches and other religious organizations to pay for abortions in their employee
health insurance plans. In so doing, the Obama Administration is ignoring federal law that protects the conscience rights of churches and religious institutions.
The controversy stems from actions by California state health officials in 2014 to define abortion as an essential benefit in the state's Obamacare health insurance exchange. By that action, the State of California required all health insurance plans issued in the state to include abortion coverage, with no exemption for churches, religious colleges, and other non-profit religious entities.
"Abortion is a basic health care service,"stated Michelle Rouillard, the Director of the California Department of Managed Health Care, in issuing the edict. "All health
plans must treat maternity services and legal abortions neutrally," Rouillard wrote, without favoring childbirth over elective abortion.
Two Catholic Jesuit universities challenged the abortion mandate, saying that the policy compelled them to finance the killing of unborn children in violation of their religious conscience. Santa Clara University and Loyola Marymount University both chose to defy the mandate, refusing to include abortion coverage in their group health insurance plans.
"Our core commitments as a Catholic university are incompatible with the inclusion of elective abortion coverage in the university's health insurance plans," said
Santa Clara University President Fr. Michael Engh
. "This decision flows from our identity and mission as a Jesuit, Catholic University."
The actions by California health officials stand in contradiction to a federal law known as the Weldon Amendment. That law provides that no state or local government can receive federal funds if it requires health insurance providers to provide coverage for abortion. The statute is named after former Congressman Dave Weldon of Florida, who sponsored the amendment back in 2004.
However, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) ruled last week that the law somehow doesn't apply in this instance. This is just the latest in a nonstop string of outlaw actions by the Obama Administration to fail to enforce laws it doesn't like, and to unilaterally create laws through executive orders to accomplish those things that it does like.
Casey Mattox, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, decried the latest anti-religous behavior by the current Administration in Washington. "The Obama Administration is once again making a mockery of the law, and this time in the most unimaginable way. Forcing a religious institution to be a party to elective abortions is one of the utmost-imaginable assaults on our most fundamental American freedoms."