(UnitedVoice.com) – On Friday, Jan. 24, the Trump Administration announced that it will withhold federal funds from California if it does not reverse course on mandated abortion coverage policies. In 2014, California passed legislation that requires all health insurance companies offering insurance in the state to include abortion coverage.
Public insurance programs like Medicaid bar abortion services from being covered. The Trump administration wants to expand that same prohibition to private coverage. The Departement of Health and Human Services (HHS) says the mandated abortion coverage is a violation of federal law if taxpayer dollars are involved. Additionally, governments may not discriminate against health care entities that don’t offer coverage for abortions.
HHS took the case after a Catholic order unsuccessfully sued the state to overturn the law.
Roger Severino, director of the Office for Civil Rights at HHS, said, “If states receive federal funds from HHS or other agencies, they can’t discriminate against health plans that decline to cover or pay for abortions. Period. Full stop.”
California will have 30 days to comply or it risks losing health funding from HHS.
Maine, New York, Illinois, Washington, and Oregon also have laws that require health insurance plans to cover abortions and could face similar enforcement by HHS.
The announcement was given the same day as the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.
California’s Predictable Response
California’s Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, shot back at the administration on Twitter, predictably stating it was another attempt to take away a woman’s right to choose.
The President & VP are once again attacking women’s health in order to grandstand at today’s anti-choice rally.
Make no mistake, this action against CA is just one more attempt to chip away at women’s rights & access to abortion. https://t.co/8lJZVXdl3a
— Xavier Becerra (@AGBecerra) January 24, 2020
In a separate statement, Becerra said he would fight against the administration’s position.
Mocking Severino’s statement, Governor Gavin Newsom (D) said he will continue to protect a woman’s right to choose – “…we won’t back down from defending reproductive freedom for everybody — full stop.”
Newsom also said the state won’t change the policy and that this was nothing more than Trump riling up his base to score “cheap political points.”
California’s Law Violates Religious Rights
Opponents of the 2014 law say that the abortion mandate violates their religious rights.
Severino said that people can purchase abortion coverage if they want it. However, people shouldn’t be forced to buy it against their conscience.
Pro-life groups say the decision was “another important victory” in the fight against abortion.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the pro-life group The Susan B. Anthony List, said that
“Abortion is not health care and no American should ever be forced to participate in the destruction of innocent human life.”
The Family Research Council praised the administration for taking abortion seriously and protecting the conscience of Americans.
By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor
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