Obama health officials uphold California's required abortion coverage

HHS' Office of Civil Rights sustained California's 2014 requirement for insurers to cover elective abortions Tuesday, rejecting a challenge from religious groups that claimed the state was breaking federal law, according to the Los Angles Times.

In 2014, California healthcare authorities told seven insurers — several of which had limited or eliminated elective abortion coverage in plans offered at Loyola Marymount and Santa Clara Universities — that they had to obey the requirement to cover elective abortions.

The California Catholic Conference, which represents the state's bishops on policy matters, responded with a complaint to HHS in 2014. It claimed the rule violated the federal Weldon Amendment, which protects healthcare entities from discrimination if they decline to cover abortions. Another group of churches filed a complaint claiming the rule forced religious organizations to violate their religious beliefs by offering health plans that covered abortion.

HHS said none of the healthcare entities, or health plans in this case, are objecting or saying they are being discriminated against. Officials also said the Weldon Act applies to health plans, not the universities or employers.

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