A member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is blasting officials in California and the District of Columbia for measures requiring employers to fund abortion, even though a related federal mandate was ruled illegal.
Commissioner Peter Kirsanow, who explained he was writing as “one member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and not on behalf of the commission as a whole,” told officials their work is threatening the religious liberty of employers.
Kirsanow wrote to California officials concerning a rule from the Department of Managed Health Care that all employers, including churches, pay for elective abortions in their health insurance plans.
Kirsanow told Shelley Rouillard of the California agency that while the Supreme Court has ruled women have a “right” to abortion, “their fellow citizens will not be required to pay for their abortions.”
“California is displaying … contempt for religious liberty,” Kirsanow wrote, referencing a state regulation that appears to violate the federal Weldon Amendment. The amendment prevents federal tax dollars from subsidizing a state that displays disregard for religious liberty by forcing health care entities to support abortion.
In short, he said, a state that violates religious liberties in this way forfeits federal aid and assistance.
“What California may not do is take billions of dollars in federal money while flouting a federal statute that forbids it from discriminating against individuals and organizations that do not wish to pay for or facilitate abortions.”
Kirasnow said the issue is “less what California law requires but what federal law requires.”
Kirsanow told Rouillard her statement that “health plans are required to cover legal abortions” is directly at odds with the Weldon Amendment.
He explained a Hasidic Jew is not required, under pain of government sanction, to offer bacon and ham in the company cafeteria for his employees’ benefit.
“The devout Muslim is not required to provide alcoholic beverages for his employees,” he continued. “But because of the Affordable Care Act, employers must provide health insurance for their employees or face sanctions from the federal government. And yet when an employer complies with the law and provides health insurance for their employees, California requires that all health plans cover elective abortions, thereby requiring employers to financially contribute to their employees’ abortions.”
He said it’s “disingenuous to claim that the employer is not paying for the abortion when every health plan in the state of California must include elective abortion coverage.”
“The employer is paying for the abortion. This is what the Weldon Amendment is intended to prevent,” Kirsanow wrote.
“People may procure abortions, but they may not dragoon other people into engaging in what they consider morally objectionable behavior,” he said.
Kirsanow’s letter to the District of Columbia was to its council chairman, Peter Mendelson.
There, the abortion requirement is under consideration.
Kirsanow warned Mendelson that the proposal “threatens the religious liberty of employers in the district and I urge the council not to enact it.”
Written by BOB UNRUH
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