Monday, October 13, 2014

Churches File Complaint With HHS Over California Abortion Coverage Requirement

Following up on a similar complaint filed last month on behalf employees of Loyola Marymount University (see prior posting), two advocacy groups filed a complaint (full text) last week with the Department of Health and Human Services on behalf of seven churches and a church-run school objecting to recent California actions requiring all group health plans to cover elective abortions. The complaint contends that the churches' health plans were changed without their consent to comply with the California Department of Managed Health Care's directive interpreting the scope of "basic health care services."  The churches argue that the California requirement violates the federal Hyde-Weldon Conscience Protection Amendment (Sec. 507 of the 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act) that prohibits states from discriminating against a health care entity because it does not provide abortion coverage. They say that denying approval of their plans that do not cover abortions amounts to illegal discrimination. Alliance Defending Freedom issued a press release announcing the filing of the Oct. 9 complaint.