Washington - The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights yesterday dismissed complaints regarding California’s requirement that all group health insurance plans cover basic health care services, including abortion.
After the California Department of Managed Health Care clarified in 2014 that a longstanding state law guarantees this coverage, opponents of safe, legal abortion filed complaints with HHS, seeking to block this important protection for women in the state. The complaints alleged that the California requirement violates the federal Weldon Amendment, an annual appropriations rider that prohibits discrimination against health care entities that refuse to provide coverage for abortion. HHS concluded today that no health care entities objected to the coverage.
ACLU Legislative Counsel Georgeanne Usova had the following to say in response:
Today’s news affirms what has always been true, that safe and legal abortion is basic health care that all women should be able to access without interference. The religious beliefs of others must not be used to restrict women’s access to constitutionally protected care.
ACLU of Southern California LGBTQ, Gender, and Reproductive Justice Project Director Melissa Goodman Melissa Goodman said:
The California Department of Managed Health Care issued a straightforward instruction based on decades of California law that abortion is a constitutionally protected personal decision and that restricting abortion coverage is discrimination.