An appeal filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of some California churches fighting a rule that forces them to pay for elective abortions has revealed that Planned Parenthood heavily influenced the writing and implementation of the rule, Catholic News Agency reports.
The Alliance Defending Freedom revealed some emails between Planned Parenthood and the California Department of Health and Human Services as part of the appeal, filed April 4th. The emails depict a highly targeted lobbying campaign within the California Department of Health and Human Services where Planned Parenthood lobbyists specifically raised the issue of Catholic and other religious institutions, asking how they can be made to pay for abortions. “We received a response from Anthem that they believe their practice complies with the law,” reads one email from Beth Parker, identified as Planned Parenthood’s chief legal counsel. “As a result, Loyola Marymount employees are currently paying additional premiums for third party coverage of abortion. Santa Clara University also has stated that it believes it can exclude elective abortions from coverage. If you can let me know some times and dates that would work for your office, we can coordinate at our end.” A follow-up email contained “Draft language for a legislative solution” in an attachment.
Other emails discussed meeting to discuss Planned Parenthood’s legislative priorities, and made no attempt to hide the cozy relationship between the abortion giant and lawmakers, including legislation sponsored by the abortion chain. In one email chain, the Planned Parenthood lobbyist proposed a deal:
our folks would feel positive about pursing an administrative solution, in lieu of legislation this year, if the Administration would agree to:
– Going forward, DMHC [Department of Managed Health Care] will not approve any further plans that exclude coverage for abortion or other reproductive health care service. This includes a clarification that there is no such thing as an elective or voluntary abortion exclusion. Simply saying that plans only need to cover “medically necessary” abortions has been the source of the issue and does not solve the problem.
– DMHC will rescind their approval of the Anthem Blue Cross & Kaiser plans (along with any other plans that include an abortion exclusion) so that those two providers cannot offer plans to employers in the future that will exclude abortion.
– DMHC will find a solution to fix the already approved plans being offered to employees of LMU for 2014 and SCU for 2015.
Subsequent to these emails in August of 2014, DMHC declared that abortion is “basic health care” and so must be covered under health plans provided even by religious institutions such as churches and religious schools and institutions.
“The government shouldn’t be forcing churches to pay for abortion, and it is shameful and inappropriate that the government did so in this case at the bidding of Planned Parenthood,” said Jeremiah Galus, attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom. “California officials are required to follow the law and legal precedent, not the dictates of groups that have an axe to grind against religious organizations that don’t share their views on abortion. We are asking the 9th Circuit to strike down this obviously unconstitutional mandate.”
It’s hard to ignore the the fact that Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the country. Making abortion more available and forcing religious institutions to pay for them would mean more money in the abortion giant’s pocket.
In 2016, the Alliance Defending Freedom filed several complaints together with the Catholic bishops of California, saying that forcing religious institutions to pay for abortions violated the Weldon Amendment, which protects conscience rights. However the complaints were rejected when The Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said they found no violation of the Weldon Amendment.
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