October 3, 2014 — The California Catholic Conference on Tuesday filed a federal civil rights complaint over a requirement that the state's insurers must provide abortion coverage, the AP/Wall Street Journal reports (AP/Wall Street Journal, 10/1).
In August, the California Department of Managed Health Care sent a letter to seven insurers notifying them that all group plans in the state "must treat maternity services and legal abortion neutrally" in their coverage.
The letter came after two Catholic universities in California -- Santa Clara University and Loyola Marymount University -- changed their employer health insurance policies to no longer cover abortions unless they are necessary to protect a woman's health (Women's Health Policy Report, 9/2).
Details of Complaint
In the complaint, CCC alleges that the state DMHC violated the federal Weldon Amendment, which permits the federal government to withhold funding from agencies, state or local governments and other programs for discriminating against hospitals, insurers or physicians over their refusal to participate in care or coverage related to abortion (AP/U-T San Diego, 10/1).
CCC also alleges that the administrative order directly targeted Catholic institutions (Payers & Providers, 10/2).
Rachel Seeger, a spokesperson for HHS' Office for Civil Rights, said the complaint is under review (AP/U-T San Diego, 10/1).