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Skyline Wesleyan Church v. California Department of Managed Health Care

Description:  The California Department of Managed Health Care is forcing churches to pay for elective abortions in their health insurance plans.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services building, Washington, D.C.
Wednesday, Dec 16, 2020
The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Elissa Graves regarding Wednesday’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights regarding enforcement of federal conscience laws and its decision to disallow $200 million in federal Medicaid funds going to California in the upcoming quarter due to the California Department of Managed Health Care’s decision to illegally mandate that all healthcare plans cover elective abortions:

“Churches should be free to operate according to their faith without being threatened by the government. For years, California’s Department of Managed Health Care, in collaboration with Planned Parenthood, has demonstrated hostility toward churches by forcing them to fund elective abortion coverage, against the deeply held beliefs of churches and their members. We applaud the Trump administration and HHS’s Office for Civil Rights for investigating and taking this corrective action against the state of California for its flawed policies, persistent violation of federal law, and its willful disregard for the civil rights and conscience rights of its citizens.”

The federal Weldon Amendment prohibits states which receive federal funding from compelling healthcare plans to fund abortion. ADF has filed complaints with OCR against California’s DMHC regarding its mandate and its violation of federal conscience law. When the previous administration failed to address the concerns raised in those complaints, ADF filed lawsuits on behalf of California churches forced to fund elective abortions. On Nov. 4, 2019, ADF attorneys argued Skyline Wesleyan Church v. California Department of Managed Health Care before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. On June 12, 2020, the court ruled in favor of the church, recognizing that it had suffered an injury when the state mandated that church healthcare plans cover elective abortions. In another lawsuit, Foothill Church v. Rouillard, ADF attorneys representing three additional California churches argued before the 9th Circuit on Nov. 20, 2020.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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ABOUT Jeremiah Galus

Jeremiah Galus serves as senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, where he is a key member of the Center for Christian Ministries. Since joining ADF in 2015, Galus has focused on protecting the freedom of Christian ministries, schools, and churches to exercise their faith without government interference. Prior to joining ADF, Galus worked as an attorney with a large law firm in Washington, D.C., where he focused on complex civil litigation before state and federal trial and appellate courts. Galus also served as a prosecutor for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Arizona. He earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 2009 and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in government and political affairs from Millersville University in 2006. Galus also completed the ADF leadership development program to become a Blackstone Fellow in 2007 and is a member of the state bar in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia.