First, the mayor of Houston flagrantly violated clergy’s First Amendment rights, when she subpoenaed sermons, and she still refuses to rescind her mandate. And now California government officials are forcing churches and other faith-based organizations to fund abortions. What’s next?
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), the California Department of Managed Health Care has required that all insurance plans in the Golden State cover abortions immediately. The kicker is that California churches are no longer exempt from providing such coverage for their employees — despite the fact that earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare cannot force its abortion-prompting contraceptives down the throats of faith-based nonprofits.
Casey Mattox, an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom, explained the bizarre nature of this new California law to The Blaze. Churches “don’t have to provide contraception, but they have to provide abortion.” He explained in The Federalist that the origin for the decree was the American Civil Liberties Union’s pushing California officials to reclassify elective abortion as “basic health services.”
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The DMHC actually notified the following insurance companies back on Aug. 22 “regarding limitations or exclusions of abortion services”: Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, GEMCare, Health Net, Kaiser Permanente, and UnitedHealthcare. They, in turn, notified carriers, including churches.
As a result, The Washington Post reported, “seven churches in California (already) received notifications from their insurers that elective surgical abortion coverage would be required as part of their employee health plans, according to Casey Mattox.” The Blaze secured a copy of one of those church letters from Kaiser Permanente, a California health care company:
“I want to formally share with you that on August 22, 2014, the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) notified Kaiser Permanente and other affected health plans in writing regarding group contracts that exclude ‘voluntary termination of pregnancy.’
“This letter made clear that the DMHC considered health care services related to the termination of pregnancies — whether or not a voluntary termination — a medically necessary basic health care service for which all health care services plans must provide coverage under the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act. You may recall that at the request of some employer groups with religious affiliations, Kaiser Permanente submitted a regulatory filing in May 2012 properly notifying the DMHC of a benefit plan option that excluded coverage of voluntary terminations of pregnancies. The DMHC did not object to this filing, permitting Kaiser Permanente to offer such a coverage contract to large group purchasers that requested it. The DMHC acknowledged that it previously permitted these contract exclusions, but now is requiring health care service plans to provide coverage of all terminations of pregnancies, effective immediately. To that end, the DMHC requires Kaiser Permanente and similar health care service plans to initiate steps to modify their plan contracts accordingly.
“Effective August 22, Kaiser Permanente will comply with this regulatory mandate.”
Of course, federal and state assaults on religious liberty are not new. As with the case of Hobby Lobby and others, however, this aggressive assault against churches on the issue of abortion funding is proof that there is no sacred stone that will be left unturned by Obamacare and secular progressives. This new healthcare law attacks and overthrows not just churches, but every last Christian who financially supports them.
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