When Skyline Wesleyan Church put together its health insurance plan for church employees, it made the decision not to cover elective abortions. Understandably, the church did not want to pay for something that violates its belief in the sanctity of human life.
The State of California did not see it that way, however.
In August 2014 – at the urging of pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood – the California Department of Managed Healthcare (DMHC) mandated that all religious organizations cover abortions in their health care plans, making the absurd claim that abortions are “basic health care services” and “medically necessary.” DMHC then added elective abortion coverage to Skyline’s plan without its knowledge and has required such coverage ever since then.
Yes, you read that right: The state added abortion to Skyline’s health plan without telling it.
No matter where you stand on abortion, that should strike you as extreme overreach by the government. Even more so when you know that federal law protects the right of religious organizations to operate according to their conscience. Federal conscience protections make it illegal to discriminate against a health insurance plan because it does not "provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions." And let’s not forget the U.S. Constitution and California’s state constitution, which both protect the free exercise of religion.
That’s why Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has filed a lawsuit against the state on behalf of Skyline Wesleyan Church. Today, we filed a brief on Skyline’s behalf at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. ADF is also defending three other churches in a separate lawsuit against this state mandate.
No church should ever be forced to pay for an elective abortion against its deeply held beliefs.
Paying for elective abortions directly violates the Christian belief that human life is sacred and should be protected. On the other hand, choosing not to provide health insurance for church employees would mean the church has to pay crippling fines and penalties under Obamacare. On top of that, Skyline Church feels called to serve and care for its employees, and cancelling their health insurance plans certainly does not fulfill that duty.
The bottom line is that churches and other religious organizations should not have to make this choice.
But, unfortunately, the government far too often threatens the constitutional rights of churches. That’s why ADF created the Church Alliance, a membership program that provides legal help to churches so they can freely live and preach the Gospel in their communities. After all, churches should be free to operate according to their religious beliefs without unjust government mandates that force them to violate those beliefs.
Learn more about the Church Alliance and how your church can sign up.