A California church is suing the state for forcing it to include elective abortions as part of the health coverage it provides to employees. The Skyline Wesleyan Church filed a lawsuit last Thursday, following in the footsteps of three other CA churches that sued the state last October.
The crime of forced abortion isn’t just affecting churches in the Golden State. In Colorado, the Little Sisters of the Poor (a Catholic charity) is enmeshed in its own legal battle with the US Department of Health and Human Services as it struggles to avoid providing abortion coverage for employees.
Where are these criminal mandates coming from? Obamacare.
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has stood up to defend the California church. “Churches should not be forced to pay for the killing of innocent human life,” argues ADF spokesman Erik Stanley. “The government has no right to demand that church health insurance plans include coverage for elective abortions – something that violates the most sincerely held religious beliefs of this church and nearly all churches throughout the state.”
Meanwhile, Skyline Wesleyan is using federal and state constitutions as well as the state’s Administrative Procedures act to prove violations of freedoms and rights. The state of California is breaking not only its own Constitution and laws, but also the US Constitution, “by strong-arming churches into having this coverage in their plans,” Stanley continued.
The state argues that the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act of 1975 “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.”
Because the Affordable Care Act forces employers to provide health insurance, this California mandate has left churches with no option but to pay for the death of innocent lives. “California has forced abortion coverage into churches’ health insurance plans without their knowledge or approval,” says ADF Legal Counsel Jeremiah Galus. “Californians should not be forced to choose between following their deepest convictions and submitting to unlawful and unnecessary government mandates.”
The complaint ADF filed on behalf of the church argues that abortions should not be classified as a “basic health care service,” citing the law that defines basic health care services as services that are “medically necessary.”
“By issuing the mandate, defendants caused Skyline’s group health plan to include coverage for voluntary and elective abortions without its knowledge and in violation of its religious beliefs.”
This heartbreaking story reminds me of the 2014 case Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby, in which the Christian craft store railed against the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that it must provide birth control to employees. During the lawsuit, Hobby Lobby was given a short-term exemption from the requirement that forces businesses to offer coverage including the morning-after pill and other birth control methods.
The eventual ruling struck down ACA’s contraceptive mandate and was the first time the Court has recognized a for-profit businesses claim of religious belief. While the controversial ruling is limited to closely held corporations, the Court’s decision to allow a for-profit corporation to be exempt from a law to which the business owner(s) object on religious grounds was a huge success for Hobby Lobby and Christian organizations throughout the country. Let’s hope Skyline Wesleyan experiences similar success.