California redefined “basic health care” to include elective abortions in health insurance plans. That means employers, even religious ones, have to include this option in employee health coverage. Oddly enough, the state does not require employers to include coverage for drugs that could induce abortions.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) represents three churches that filed a lawsuit against the state. The pastor of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills , Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, said he’d go to jail if necessary before his church includes abortions in employee health insurance plans.
He won’t have to do that. ADF announced a recent court ruling in favor of the churches, which declared the mandate unconstitutional.
Cases that involve claims of fundamental rights violations require courts to review laws or policies under a strict-scrutiny standard. Religion is one of those fundamental rights. A law must be narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling government interest.
The California Department of Managed Health Care director denied the churches’ requests for an exemption. The court contended that the director failed to show that she lacked any other means of achieving the goal without imposing a substantial burden on free exercise of religion.
“The Director’s denial of the Churches’ request for exceptions to accommodate their religious beliefs, based solely on the fact that those requests did not originate with a plan, was not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling interest.”
From ADF (emphasis added):
As revealed in e-mails that ADF attorneys discovered, the California Department of Managed Health Care issued its mandate in response to specific demands from Planned Parenthood. Those demands asked agency officials to implement a “fix” requiring the health plans of religious organizations to include coverage for abortion, regardless of moral or conscientious objections and despite state recognition up to that point that religious groups shouldn’t be subject to such requirements. The abortion giant threatened to promote its own legislative “solution” if the administrative agency didn’t act, so DMHC issued its mandate in 2014.
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