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ADF to Calif. agency: You cannot force employers to cover abortions

Federal funding hinges on respecting insurance plans

Friday, Aug 22, 2014

Attorney sound bite:  Matt Bowman

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Life Legal Defense Foundation and Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter Friday to the California Department of Managed Health Care condemning its decision to force two Jesuit universities to cover elective abortions in their health insurance plans. The letter alleges that the decision violates federal law, under which the state cannot mandate that a health insurance plan include abortion coverage without forfeiting federal funds.

“Faith-based organizations should be free to operate according to the faith they espouse and live out on a daily basis,” said ADF Senor Legal Counsel Matthew Bowman. “When Congress enacted the Weldon Amendment, it sought to ensure that the government could never strong-arm pro-life employers into paying for abortion coverage; therefore, California’s decision is illegal. No state can ignore federal law in a pursuit to conform everyone to the state’s own ideology on abortion.”

The letter, sent on behalf of the Cardinal Newman Society, explains that because of the Weldon Amendment, “DMHC cannot deny approval to or otherwise penalize a health insurance plan for failing to provide coverage of some or all abortions. In its failed lawsuit against the Amendment, California admitted that all of its departments are subject to the Amendment due to some of those departments receiving over $40 billion in federal funds.”

“The DMHC’s action is a clear violation of the Weldon Amendment and, if not reversed, could trigger loss of funding to the entire state and its departments.,” the letter adds. “If DMHC does not reverse its decision, we are prepared to file complaints with the Office of Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services.”

“Under federal law, pro-life employers have the freedom to choose health insurance plans that do not conflict with their beliefs on the dignity of human life,” added LLDF Legal Director Catherine Short. “Already under Obamacare’s mandates, employers and individuals are required to purchase health insurance coverage they may not need or want. California cannot be allowed to discriminate against health plans that don’t cover elective abortions and force people to purchase coverage that conflicts with their convictions.”
 
  • Pronunciation guide: Bowman (BOH-min')

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 Matt Bowman

Matt Bowman serves as senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, where he focuses on the impact of administrative law on religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and family. He most recently joined ADF in December 2020. From 2017 to 2020, Bowman was a senior executive service appointee in the Trump administration, serving the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as Deputy General Counsel, and then in the Office for Civil Rights. Prior to joining HHS, Bowman was an accomplished litigator at ADF for over ten years. Before joining ADF in 2006, Bowman served as a law clerk for Judges Samuel A. Alito, Jr., and Michael A. Chagares, at the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and for Judge John M. Roll at the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. Bowman earned his J.D. summa cum laude and was first in his class at Ave Maria School of Law in 2003. He is a member of the bar of the District of Columbia and Michigan and is admitted to practice at the U.S. Supreme Court and multiple federal appellate and district courts.