In August 2014, the California Department of Managed Healthcare (CDMH) issued a mandate requiring all group health insurance plans in California to provide coverage for all legal abortions, including completely voluntary and elective abortions. Previously, organizations which did not want to provide insurance coverage for voluntary abortions could simply purchase health insurance which did not provide for it. This included numerous churches, non-profits, and other organizations of conscience.
Through its new mandate, however, the CDMH unilaterally changed all of the contracts between churches and health insurance providers, and inserted coverage for voluntary abortions. The CDMH even tried to prevent health insurance providers from informing churches about the new coverage.
In February, FCDF filed suit, along with ADF, on behalf of Skyline Wesleyan Church in La Mesa, California, to challenge the mandate as violating Skyline Weseleyan’s Federal and California Constitutional rights to the free exercise of religion, and equal protection under the law. California – through Senate Candidate and current Attorney General Kamala Harris (with whom FCDF has had previous fights) moved to dismiss our suit. On Monday the Court denied that motion. In so doing, it even went so far as to cite [Bishop] Zubik v. Burwell. That is the famous Supreme Court case from earlier this year where FCDF client Priests for Life was vindicated in asserting its right to not pay for contraception in its health-care plan. We are optimistic that Skyline Weselyan will be able to achieve a similarly positive result.