Friday, August 23, 2019

Challenge To California Order Requiring Health Plan Abortion Coverage Is Unsuccessful

In Missionary Guadalupanas of the Holy Spirit, Inc. v. Rouillard, (CA Ct. App., Aug. 6, 2019), a California state appellate court held that the state's Department of Managed Health Care did not violate the state Administrative Procedure Act when it notified seven health care service plans that they must cover abortions. The state statute does not require compliance with the rule-making process for a  regulation "that embodies the only legally tenable interpretation of a provision of law." A California statute requires insurance plans to cover "basic health care services." The court said in part:
We hold that an abortion is one of two medically necessary options for the treatment of a woman’s pregnancy. A pregnant patient may elect medical services necessary to deliver a baby, or to terminate the pregnancy. Because California law guarantees every woman the right to choose whether to bear a child or obtain an abortion, the only legally tenable interpretation of the law is that abortions are basic health care services, which health care service plans are required to cover.
This case did not present a question of whether requiring abortion coverage violates the religious freedom rights of the Catholic organization filing suit. Los Angeles Times reports on the decision.