SACRAMENTO, CA – A string of emails from a religious freedom case have detailed how Planned Parenthood urged California regulators to force religious employers to include abortions in their employees' health insurance coverage even though the rule-makers did not seek or allow any other public comment.
In 2014, the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) issued a rule that requires all employers, including faith-based, to pay for elective abortion coverage for employees. Normally, as required by the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), such a rule would be subject to public hearings and comments.
California Catholic Conference, the Guadulapanas Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, and the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) have been pursuing legal remedies ever since.
The emails are evidence in the ADF’s case.
“It’s no surprise that California politicians go overboard in promoting abortion ideology,” said Andrew Rivas, executive director of the California Catholic Conference, “but it is disturbing to see that California regulators work so closely with Planned Parenthood while simultaneously forestalling any opportunity to disagree with the wishes of the nation’s largest abortion provider.”
A complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by the California Catholic Conference points to the rule-making violation. After two years, the OCR ruled the Conference did not have standing to file such a complaint. An appeal to that ruling is still pending
In 2015, the Missionary Guadalupanas of the Holy Spirit filed a writ of petition in Sacramento County Superior Court seeking to have the DMHC’s mandate voided as a violation of California’s APA. The Superior Count declined but an appeal of that decision is still pending.
“California regulators appear to have deliberately ignored the deep moral and ethical objection to abortion held by so many in the state,” said Rivas. “Debate is healthy and should never be suppressed in this manner or any issue in which so many citizens feel so passionate about.”