On August 22, the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) ordered all health plans under its jurisdiction, including those provided by churches and other religious institutions to their employees, to provide coverage for all abortions. The order includes abortions at any stage and for any reason, because (says the DMHC) killing unborn children is “a basic health care service.” Other states are considering similar proposals.
California’s action violates federal law. The Weldon Amendment, a part of appropriations law since 2004, provides that governmental bodies receiving federal funding may not discriminate against a health care entity that “does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.” But Weldon lacks effective enforcement and has been subject to legal challenges. To strengthen its protection, Congress should pass the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (ANDA) as part of must-pass funding legislation at the earliest possible opportunity. For a letter to Congress from the U.S. bishops on this matter, see: www.usccb.org/news/2014/14-192.cfm.