California Refuses to Protect Conscience Rights–Will Lose Millions in Funding Because of Abortion Mandate

By Laura Echevarria, Director of Communications and Press Secretary

WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that the state of California would lose over $200 million a quarter in Medicaid funding for violating federal right of conscience laws by requiring that all health care plans issued in California cover abortion.

In January, HHS issued a Notice of Violation to California after an investigation by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR):

[OCR] determined that California violated the Weldon Amendment by mandating that California health care plan issuers cover elective abortion in each plan product and continues to violate federal law by continuing to require objecting health care entities protected by the Weldon Amendment to cover elective abortion. 

The state of California had 30 days from the date of the notice to respond.

The Weldon Amendment states that funds may not be “made available to a Federal agency or program, or to a State or local government, if such agency, program, or government subjects any institutional or individual health care entity to discrimination on the basis that the health care entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.”

California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, now in line to oversee HHS in a Biden administration, wrote in response to HHS saying, “California will take no ‘corrective action.’”

“As attorney general for the state of California, Xavier Becerra has not only defended but also aggressively argued for abortion coverage in health care plans,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “The state of California’s coercive policies have meant that nearly every health insurance plan, no matter if it’s for a business, a church or religious institution, is required to cover abortion.”