President Trump made history on Friday by being the first president to attend the annual March for Life rally in Washington, D.C. As the president addressed the tens of thousands of pro-life supporters who had gathered in the nation's capital, the president's administration began applying pressure on California to lift its requirement on private insurers to cover abortions.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced that California's requirement on private health insurance providers to cover abortion procedures was in violation of federal law and gave the state 30 days to take corrective action or risk losing federal funding from HHS.
Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR), announced an action to protect human life and the conscience rights of all Americans.
OCR is issuing a Notice of Violation to the state of California, formally notifying California that it cannot impose universal abortion coverage mandates on health insurance plans and issuers in violation of federal conscience laws. California has deprived over 28,000 people of plans that did not cover elective abortion, but now must cover abortion due to California’s mandate.
OCR’s investigation arose from two complaints alleging that California engaged in unlawful discrimination when California’s Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) ordered, in August 2014, that all health plan issuers under its jurisdiction must offer coverage for elective abortion in every plan they offer.
Pursuant to 45 CFR Part 88 (effective March 2011), OCR has completed the investigation of the complaints and determined that California violated the Weldon Amendment by mandating that California health care plan issuers cover elective abortion in each plan product, and continues to violate federal law by continuing to require objecting health care entities protected by the Weldon Amendment to cover elective abortion.
If, after 30 days, OCR does not receive sufficient assurance that California will come into compliance with federal law, OCR will forward the Notice of Violation and the evidence supporting OCR’s findings in this matter to the HHS funding components from which California receives funding for appropriate action under applicable grants and contracts regulations.
"No one in America should be forced to pay for or cover other people’s abortions," said OCR Director Roger Severino in a statement. “We are putting California on notice that it must stop forcing people of good will to subsidize the taking of human life, not only because it’s the moral thing to do, but because it’s the law."
"Under President Trump," HHS Secretary Alex Azar began, "HHS has been vigorously enforcing the statutes Congress passed to protect Americans’ consciences and institutionalizing these protections within the department’s civil rights work."
As the president addressed pro-lifers at the March for Life Rally on Friday, the president reiterated his commitment to defending the lives of unborn children, adding that "[e]very person is worth protecting."