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.
[Update: The Cardinal Newman Society joined with two legal groups in a letter notifying the California Department of Managed Health Care that the state may lose federal funds due to its recent move forcing abortion coverage. Read more]
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.”
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