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ADF applauds HHS action to enforce federal conscience laws, hold CA agency accountable

HHS building

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Elissa Graves regarding Wednesday’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights regarding enforcement of federal conscience laws and its decision to disallow $200 million in federal Medicaid funds going to California in the upcoming quarter due to the California Department of Managed Health Care’s decision to illegally mandate that all healthcare plans cover elective abortions:

“Churches should be free to operate according to their faith without being threatened by the government. For years, California’s Department of Managed Health Care, in collaboration with Planned Parenthood, has demonstrated hostility toward churches by forcing them to fund elective abortion coverage, against the deeply held beliefs of churches and their members. We applaud the Trump administration and HHS’s Office for Civil Rights for investigating and taking this corrective action against the state of California for its flawed policies, persistent violation of federal law, and its willful disregard for the civil rights and conscience rights of its citizens.”

The federal Weldon Amendment prohibits states which receive federal funding from compelling healthcare plans to fund abortion. ADF has filed complaints with OCR against California’s DMHC regarding its mandate and its violation of federal conscience law. When the previous administration failed to address the concerns raised in those complaints, ADF filed lawsuits on behalf of California churches forced to fund elective abortions. On Nov. 4, 2019, ADF attorneys argued Skyline Wesleyan Church v. California Department of Managed Health Care before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. On June 12, 2020, the court ruled in favor of the church, recognizing that it had suffered an injury when the state mandated that church healthcare plans cover elective abortions. In another lawsuit, Foothill Church v. Rouillard, ADF attorneys representing three additional California churches argued before the 9th Circuit on Nov. 20, 2020.


Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.


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