California Churches Forced to Provide Abortion Coverage File Appeal

ICC Note: Seven churches in California that have been ordered by the state to provide insurance covering abortions are appealing to the federal government. In August, the California Department of Managed Health Care issued a letter requiring all insurance companies in the state to cover abortions, leaving no option for faith-based employers or churches to provide alternate coverage. The appeal filed by the seven California churches is just one of the many battles taking place in the U.S. pitting traditional Christian values against relatively newer cultural norms backed by state and federal legislation.  

10/10/2014 United States (Christian News Network) – A federal complaint has been filed on behalf of seven churches in California who object to a recent order by the state that would force all faith-based employers to offer abortion coverage regardless of their religious beliefs.

As previously reported, the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) issued a letter in August requiring all insurance companies in the state to cover abortions, which would force all faith-based organizations to provide coverage despite their convictions, and would leave no way to opt out or choose an alternative plan.

“Abortion is a basic health care service,” director Michelle Rouillard wrote to the seven insurance companies that refused to offer coverage.“All health plans must treat maternity services and legal abortion neutrally.”

She asserted that abortion must be covered because the “California Constitution prohibits health plans from discriminating against women who choose to terminate a pregnancy,” and also cited a 1975 law surrounding “medically necessary” health care.

The directive is believed to come as a result of a decision made last year by two Roman Catholic/Jesuit universities in the state, Santa Clara University and Loyola Marymount University, to no longer pay for abortions, but that employees could buy coverage through a third party. Some faculty members objected to the announcement and called upon Gov. Jerry Brown to intervene.

The Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF) and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) soon filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services after the DMHC refused to change its decision following written correspondence between the groups.

Now, LLDF and ADF have filed a second complaint with the federal government on behalf of seven churches, one of which operates a Christian school, to again assert that the mandate violates the rights of faith-based employers. Skyline Church in La Mesa, Foothill Church and Foothill Christian School in Glendora, Alpine Christian Fellowship in El Cajon, The Shepherd of the Hills Church in Porter Ranch, City View Church in San Diego, Faith Baptist Church in Santa Barbara, and Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in Chino are all being represented in the complaint.

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