Friday, August 22, 2014
California forces Catholic Colleges to pay for abortion
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Gov. Jerry Brown's administration has reversed an earlier decision to allow two Catholic universities to eliminate coverage of most abortions for employees, saying state law requires health insurance plans to cover all abortions.
The state had previously allowed insurance companies to offer plans to Santa Clara and Loyola Marymount universities that denied coverage for "elective" abortions, and allowed it only for abortions needed to save a woman's life or prevent serious health damage. Loyola Marymount, in Los Angeles, implemented its policy in January, while Santa Clara's was due to take effect next year.
Urged by abortion-rights groups and university employees to reconsider the issue, Brown's Department of Managed Health Care, in letters to be sent Friday to insurers for both universities, said the exclusions violate a 1975 state law that requires group health plans to cover all basic services - defined, by the law, as those that are "medically necessary."
"Abortion is a basic health care service," the department's director, Michelle Rouillard, said in the letter.
In addition, she said, "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."
Rouillard told the insurance companies to review all health plans, including those the department had previously approved, to make sure they comply with the law.
Wesley Smith writes: "What starts in California doesn’t stay in California. Forced abortion coverage will be the next front in the war against religious freedom."