Monday, October 19, 2015

Lawsuit Attacks California Rule Requiring Churches to Fund Abortions

For years, the State of California has engaged in acts of aggression against Christianity and Christians.

My first experience with those acts of aggression came as an attorney assisting Jordan Lorence​ in his preparations and arguments that imposing a nondiscrimination clause on landlords that barred them from refusing to rent their properties to unmarried couples violated their religious freedom.

Later came the imposition of nondiscrimination clauses by Cities like San Francisco, denying any business that engaged in contractual relations with the City the right to limit health insurance and other benefits to legally married spouses of employees.

Later still came the insistence that businesses provide contraceptives coverage with their health plans.

Blow by blow the State and its People savaged those who clung to faith as a justification for their actions.

Did the People of the State rise in revolt?


Did they punish elected officials with removal at election time, or recall from office?


The consistent refrain from the officials and their policy gadflies amongst the various related interest groups was the same:

  • If you don't want to rent to everyone, get out of the property management business
  • If you don't want to provide benefits to unmarried partners of employees, don't do business with us.
  • If you don't like what's going on in California, the essence of the message was, then get out. 

Our former pastor gave that message once during a "family meeting" of the church. "If you don't like how things are changing," he challenged the "family," "I have a list of 500 other churches in the area you could attend."

It seems to me that neither States, nor churches, should be in the business of telling dissenters that they should shut up or leave (although I do support the right of private associations like churches to engage in such discrimination, I just think that the approach looks alot like the opposite of what Jesus taught).

So the People of California have let their giant melt pot come to a full boil. Now the State is telling churches that they must provide health insurance coverage for elective abortions.

I'm not talking about election abortions, like the campaigns of Rick Perry or Chaffee/O'Malley/Webb. I'm talking about elective abortions.

An elective abortion is one that is not therapeutic in character, from a medical perspective. It is one that is not necessary to the life or health of the mother. [Let's leave aside for now the very notion that killing one's child is necessary to one's health, a notion that would empty most homes during the years in which children make the difficult passage from pre-teen to adult.]

In August, 2014, the director of California's Department of Managed Health Care wrote to several health insurance companies regarding their policies in force in California. The director advised the insurance companies that California prohibits discrimination between pregnancy outcomes (in other words favoring birth over abortion). For that reason, the director instructed the companies to take steps to insure that policies they issued were correctly constructed to insure that abortion, which California considers a "basic health service" be covered in a manner consistent with California law.

Here is a relevant excerpt from the letter:
It has come to the attention of the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) that some Blue Cross of California (Blue Cross) contracts contain language that may discriminate against women by limiting or excluding coverage for termination of pregnancies. The DMHC has reviewed the relevant legal authorities and has concluded that it erroneously approved or did not object to such discriminatory language in some evidence of coverage (EOC) filings. [] 
The purpose of this letter is to remind plans that the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act of 1975 (Knox Keene Act) requires the provision of basic health care services and the California Constitution prohibits health plans from discriminating against women who choose to terminate a pregnancy. Thus, all health plans must treat maternity services and legal abortion neutrally.  
Exclusions and limitations are also incompatible with both the California Reproductive Privacy Act and multiple California judicial decisions that have unambiguously established under the California Constitution that every pregnant woman has the fundamental right to choose to either bear a child or to have a legal abortion. A health plan is not required to cover abortions that would be unlawful under Health & Safety Code § 123468. 
Regardless of existing EOC language, effective as of the date of this letter, Blue Cross must comply with California law with respect to the coverage of legal abortions. 
Required Action 
[] Blue Cross must review all current health plan documents to ensure that they are compliant with the Knox-Keene Act with regard to legal abortion. This includes plan documents previously approved or not objected to by the DMHC.  
In regards to coverage for abortion services, the descriptors cited below are inconsistent with the Knox-Keene Act and the California Constitution. Blue Cross must amend current health plan documents to remove discriminatory coverage exclusions and limitations. These limitations or exclusions include, but are not limited to, any exclusion of coverage for “voluntary” or “elective” abortions and/or any limitation of coverage to only “therapeutic” or “medically necessary” abortions. Blue Cross may, consistent with the law, omit any mention of coverage for abortion services in health plan documents, as abortion is a basic health care service

So California demands that elective abortions, the ones sought to avoid weight gain, the ones sought to insure that classes aren't missed, the ones sought to guarantee that a woman will not have her trip to the glass ceiling disrupted, THOSE ABORTIONS, be covered by health insurance plans. Even when those insurance plans are required to be purchased by employers that are churches. Even when the churches treat the topic of abortion as a moral question, and conclude and teach and believe that abortion is a grievous moral wrong, a sin.

Now, thankfully, Alliance Defending Freedom​ has sued to overturn the application of that state rule to churches. I have attached a link to the complaint filed in federal court last week. It's worth the read to understand the hateful goings on in that State. I suppose it is worth reminding the churches that some aspect of their present suffering reflects a failure of mission in their society, a failure to teach from the pulpit the essential nature of God's design, a proper respect for life, and the duty of those who walk after Jesus to bring their faith to bear on their government.