Sunday, September 03, 2017

Court Upholds California Requirement That Health Plans Cover Abortions

In Foothill Church v. Rouillard, (ED CA, Sept. 1, 2017), a California federal district court upheld against a free exercise challenge letters from the California Department of Managed Health Care requiring private health insurers to remove all limitations on or exclusions of abortion services from their health care policies.  Three churches sued arguing that this prevents them from providing their employees with health insurance that is consistent with their Christian teachings.  The court in dismissing plaintiffs' amended complaint held, however, that the Department's letters were neutral and generally applicable, and thus consistent with the free exercise clause.  Plaintiffs also alleged that the Department had granted an exception to one health care plan, allowing it to exclude coverage for abortion except in the case of rape or incest, but has not granted an exception for a policy that excludes abortion coverage in all cases. The court said, however, that plaintiffs did not allege that a plan with total exclusions had been submitted, or that an exemption for it had been rejected. WND has additional background. (See prior related posting.)