Today is a day for calling things what they are, and what the Obama administration is doing, has been doing, and did again today is monstrous and despicable and shameful. They are refusing to enforce federal religious protection laws for churches in California and thereby forcing them to materially cooperate with evil in contravention of their religious freedom and beliefs. It’s an abomination.
Churches in California are officially subject to an onerous state regulation that requires them to pay for abortions, thanks to a ruling by the Obama administration.
The troubling situation began in 2014 when the California Department of Managed Health Care reclassified abortion as a “basic health service” under the Affordable Care Act and ordered all insurance plans in the state to begin covering surgical abortions immediately.Even churches are not exempt from funding abortions.
After this, churches in California brought a lawsuit. That was last year. The whole mess has been in court since then, and an investigation under the Obama administration into whether the rights of the churches are being violated was underway. But today …
… the HHS Office of Civil Rights released the results of its investigation into the California abortion mandate, stating it found no violation and is closing its investigation of the complaints without further action.
No violation. Forcing churches to pay for abortion is no violation. They said that.
The bottom line is that the Obama administration is refusing to protect the right of religious Americans to exercise their conscience, and for religious institutions to do the same. As a refresher, in 2014 California’s Department of Managed Health Care “ordered all insurance plans in the state to immediately begin covering elective abortion. Not Plan B. Not contraceptives. Elective surgical dismemberment abortion.”
And despite challenges, that will remain the case. Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey released a statement on the decision, calling for action from the House:
“Nearly two years after California imposed its draconian mandate that requires all insurance companies to pay for abortion the Obama Administration has reached a new low — reinterpreting the Weldon amendment to allow the mandate to continue,” said Rep. Chris Smith, Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus. “This means that Californians, including churches, will continue to be forced to pay for elective abortions in their insurance plans.”
Since August of 2014 the state of California has mandated that all churches in the state must cover all abortions in their insurance plans – even in plans where abortion had previously been excluded. Numerous churches filed complaints with the HHS Office of Civil Rights seeking enforcement of the Weldon Amendment. The Weldon Amendment is an annual appropriations rider, signed into law consistently since 2004, which protects against state-imposed discrimination on the basis of declining to pay for or participate in abortion. Today the HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) released its results of the investigation into the California mandate saying “OCR found no violation of the Weldon Amendment and is closing this matter without further action.”
Smith continued, “The Weldon amendment – named for the Florida Congressman Dave Weldon who authored it – has been renewed and signed into law annually, including by President Obama. The Weldon Amendment protects against state-imposed abortion mandates. But Obama’s Administration has again shown blatant disregard for the rule of law. This decision illustrates the far reaches of Obama’s radical pro-abortion ideology – forcing churches and communities of faith that have pro-life convictions to participate in and pay for a practice that dismembers and chemically poisons unborn children.
“Congress must not let this discrimination stand. We must take this issue out of the hands of the Obama Administration by moving enforcement of current conscience protections to the courts. Congress needs to enact legislation so churches and other victims have a “private right of action” so they can have their day in court.”
The Alliance Defending Freedom also released a statement on their website from Senior Counsel Casey Mattox:
“The Obama Administration is once again making a mockery of the law, and this time in the most unimaginable way. Churches should never be forced to cover elective abortion in their insurance plans, and for ten years the Weldon Amendment has protected the right to have plans that do not include coverage for abortion-on-demand. But the state of California has ordered every insurer, even those insuring churches, to cover elective abortions in blatant violation of the law. The Obama Administration’s refusal to enforce this law continues its pattern of enforcing laws it wants to enforce, refusing to enforce others, and inventing new interpretations of others out of whole cloth. We will continue to defend churches from this clear violation of the First Amendment and federal law and call on Congress to hold the Department of Health and Human Services accountable.”
You will find, if you care to look, a great many left-wing Americans who state outright they don’t care about the conscience of the church or those within it and that, furthermore, they don’t believe in any exemptions for churches at all, including tax exemptions. They consider the church a quaint institution that should be forced to put their money where liberals’ mouths are. That people should be forced to go against their conscience in the interest of abortion, just as with gay marriage. (Although I’m certain they still believe in conscientious objection where the military is concerned.) It is a disdain shared by the Obama administration, as we see once again today.
These are the wages of Obamacare. And the liberal hatred for the Christian faith.