BLOGCalifornia Is Forcing Churches to Pay for Abortions, so We Sued – Here Are the Facts

By Maureen Collins Posted on: | February 07, 2019

How extreme is the state of California on abortion?

You probably already know that the state tried to force pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise for abortions. But you might not know that some state officials want to force churches to pay for abortions.

That’s not a typo. A California agency actually added elective abortions to the employee health care plans of churches throughout the state—without telling them. Now, one church is standing up against the state.

Let’s take a look at the details of this case.


Who: Skyline Wesleyan Church

Since its first gathering in the summer of 1954, pastors and leaders of Skyline Wesleyan Church have called upon their congregations to live out their faith and practice what they preach.

Church leaders do this by advocating for life at every stage as well as taking good care of their employees by providing them with the very best health care policies available. Now the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) is telling them they will have to choose one or the other.


What: Skyline Wesleyan Church v. California Department of Managed Health Care

In August 2014, the California DMHC mandated that all health plans cover elective abortions. This mandate added elective abortions to Skyline Wesleyan Church’s health plans—without the church even knowing about it.

The DMHC sent a letter to all insurance providers in the state telling them that it would be illegal for them to refuse to cover abortions in their healthcare plans. In its letter, the DMHC made two absurd claims:

  1. That abortions are “basic health care services” and “medically necessary.”
  2. That, in order to be “neutral,” the government must force insurance providers to cover both abortion and maternity care.

These unelected officials made this decision without passing a regulation or allowing for public input. And what’s worse is that they did so after being influenced by pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood.

The state even had evidence that its mandate would only apply to religious organizations. This is a new low and clearly violates the Free Exercise Clause by targeting churches.

Skyline Church, along with millions of Christians across the country, holds the biblical belief that every human life—born or unborn—has worth and dignity. Opposing abortions in their health plans is non-negotiable. They had no choice but to file a complaint against the DMHC.


When: August 2014—Present

After receiving the letter from the DMHC on August 22, 2014, Skyline Church filed an official complaint in a California district court. That court denied it relief from the DMHC’s outlandish policy. So, Skyline Church is now asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to reverse this decision. Alliance Defending Freedom filed a reply brief on behalf of Skyline Church on January 30 but the court has yet to set a date for oral arguments.


Where: La Mesa, California

Located in La Mesa, Skyline Church has been a fixture of the San Diego area for over 60 years.


Why: No one should be forced to pay for abortion against their beliefs.

The state of California is demanding that Skyline Church either fund abortions through its health plans or risk paying steep fines under Obamacare by declining to provide health coverage for its employees. This is targeting of a religious organization—plain and simple.

No church or individual should be forced to participate in funding abortion. Every American should be free to live and work according to their faith without fear of unjust punishment by the government.


The Bottom Line

Churches should be free to operate according to their faith without being threatened by the government.

Maureen Collins

Web Writer

Maureen has a passion for writing and politics, and her work has appeared on The Federalist and MRCTV.org.

More from ADF View All

Banned from the Farmer’s Market Because of a Facebook Post

Banned from the Farmer’s Market Because of a Facebook Post

For years, they sold their produce at a farmer’s market in East Lansing, Mich...

Mr. Funny | Words | Author | I'm the icon | www | 04/11/2019 17:30:15 Read More

This Professor Was Punished for Expressing His Views, But His Voice Is Desperately Needed

This Professor Was Punished for Expressing His Views, But His Voice Is Desperately Needed

Looking back on my life, I only wish Dr. Josephson would have been my doctor ...

Mr. Funny | Words | Author | I'm the icon | www | 04/17/2019 16:15:03 Read More

California Is Not the Only Place Targeting Its Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers

Sanctity of Life

California Is Not the Only Place Targeting Its Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers

The California law that ADF challenged at the U.S. Supreme Court last year is...

Mr. Funny | Words | Author | I'm the icon | www | 04/18/2019 21:45:10 Read More

3 of Thomas Jefferson’s Principles We Should All Take to Heart

3 of Thomas Jefferson’s Principles We Should All Take to Heart

Like Jefferson, we must be firmly rooted in coherent principles, not just bli...

Mr. Funny | Words | Author | I'm the icon | www | 04/12/2019 21:35:29 Read More