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Published On: Mon, May 9th, 2016

California mandates churches include abortion coverage in insurance plans, heads to court

Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Jeremiah Galus and ADF Senior Counsel Erik Stanley will be available for media interviews immediately following Galus’ arguments in federal court Friday in favor of allowing the lawsuit of three churches against a California agency to proceed. The churches filed suit in October of last year against the state’s Department of Managed Health Care for forcing churches to pay for elective abortions in their health insurance plans.

“The government shouldn’t be forcing churches to pay for the killing of innocent human life,” Galus explained.

“These churches have no way to avoid paying for abortions because Obamacare requires health insurance coverage, and the California mandate requires abortion coverage in any health plan. What’s bizarre, though, is that the same government that quite rightfully does not require California churches to pay for contraceptive coverage nonetheless requires them to pay for elective abortion coverage. We trust the court will allow the churches to proceed with challenging this obviously inconsistent and unconstitutional mandate.”

photo Andrew Aliferis via Flickr

photo Andrew Aliferis via Flickr

“No state agency anywhere has the right to demand that church health insurance plans contain coverage for abortion—something that clearly violates these churches’ most sincerely held religious beliefs,” added Stanley. “That’s why we are asking the court to deny the state’s request to dismiss this lawsuit.”

ADF filed the lawsuit, Foothill Church v. Rouillard, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California on behalf of Foothill Church in Glendora, Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in Chino, and The Shepherd of the Hills Church in Porter Ranch.

In 2014, ADF and Life Legal Defense Foundation filed formal complaints with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services against DMHC regarding California’s mandate and its violation of federal conscience law. Those came on the heels of a complaint filed directly with DMHC, which responded by affirming its decision to force all plans to cover all abortions without any explanation as to how that decision squares with the Constitution and contrasting federal law.

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