How radical is California on abortion?
We already know that the U.S. Supreme Court rebuked the state for trying to force pro-life pregnancy centers to speak a message against their mission in NIFLA v. Becerra.
But several years ago, the California Department of Managed Healthcare (DMHC), a state agency, mandated that the healthcare plans of churches and other religious organizations pay for elective abortions through their insurance plans.
Unelected officials at the DMHC made this decision without passing a regulation or allowing for public input. And they did so after being influenced by pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood.
This policy change meant that Skyline Wesleyan Church in the San Diego area and Foothill Church of the Los Angeles area were forced to choose between their deeply held pro-life beliefs and providing health insurance to their employees. So both churches filed lawsuits against the DMHC.
But now, the federal government is taking notice!
Today, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights sent a letter to California. The letter informed California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, that the DMHC was violating federal conscience protections by forcing churches and people of faith to pay for abortions through health insurance plans.
The letter gave the DMHC 30 days to show the HHS Office of Civil Rights that it has changed course or it risks losing federal funding.
Praise God! This is an important step toward ending California’s unconstitutional policy.
But it also sends the important message that government officials must respect religious freedom. Because the First Amendment protects everyone’s right to freely live out their faith—not just those who happen to agree with the government.
Imagine if you had escaped government oppression in search of freedom and safety for your family in a new country—only to be greeted yet again with the government treading on Constitutional rights.
As pandemic restrictions have begun to ease over the last few months, churches and religious organizations have started to ask: If this happens again, how can we ensure that religious freedom is protected?