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California is forcing churches to pay for abortions

Lisa Amann, pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in La Mesa, California.
Lisa Amann, pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in La Mesa, California. | YouTube/Alliance Defending Freedom

Lisa Amann has attended Skyline Wesleyan Church in La Mesa, California for almost her entire life. Now, she works there as a pastor.

As a Christian, Lisa is passionate about protecting life—especially that of the unborn. “As Christians, we are fundamentally against the destruction of a person’s life and destiny.”

And yet, the state of California wants to force Lisa and Skyline Wesleyan Church to pay for abortions through the church’s healthcare plan.

Forcing a church to pay for abortions is another low for a state that lost at the U.S. Supreme Court after it tried to force pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise for abortions. But there’s more to this story.

At the Urging of Planned Parenthood

In 2014, the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) sent a letter to health insurers that rescinded existing religious accommodations and mandated immediate coverage of abortion, regardless of existing plan language.

Skyline Church was one of the religious organizations with an affected plan. The letter didn’t announce a notice and comment period typical of a government change in policy. And it certainly didn’t ask for the input of the organizations affected. Rather, the DMHC mandated that the healthcare plans of employers like Skyline Church include coverage for elective abortion.

But it gets worse. The DMHC changed its policy after being urged to do so by Planned Parenthood. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorneys discovered a series of emails from Planned Parenthood to the DMHC asking agency officials to “fix” exemptions for religious organizations that oppose abortion.

This means that, driven by activists at Planned Parenthood, California has gone out of its way to force pro-life churches, like Skyline, to fund abortions. And in the process, California will force people of faith like Lisa to be complicit in something that fundamentally violates their deepest beliefs.

Forcing Christians to Act Against Core Beliefs

“The Bible, the foundation for my beliefs is crystal clear when it comes to abortion,” she says. From God’s creation of humanity in Genesis, to God calling Jeremiah in the womb (“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you…” Jerimiah 1:5 ESV), Lisa’s beliefs about abortion are rooted in biblical principles.

But now, the DMHC is trying to force Lisa and her church to act against these principles.

No matter where you stand on abortion, this is a violation of the First Amendment. We can all agree that every American should be free to live and work according to their faith without fear of unjust punishment by the government — especially a church like Skyline.

That’s why ADF filed a lawsuit against the state on behalf of Skyline Wesleyan Church. And last week, ADF argued this case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Please pray for this important case. Because what a Church does and does not fund should be decided by people like Lisa, not unelected bureaucrats.

Originally posted at Alliance Defending Freedom.

Maureen Collins is a Web Writer at Alliance Defending Freedom. Before joining ADF, Maureen worked in conservative think tanks in Washington, D.C. including The Federalist Society and The Heritage Foundation. 

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