Last Friday, on the morning of the March for Life, HHS Secretary Alex Azar announced live from FRC's ProLifeCon that the Trump administration would be cracking down on California for forcing all insurance plans in the state, including churches, to cover abortion. The Weldon Amendment is a federal law ensuring that states do not discriminate against health care providers for refusing to cover abortion. California has been in violation of this law since 2014. In contrast with the Obama administration, the Trump administration is taking enforcement action, even to the point of revoking federal funds if California refuses to comply with the law.
Federal laws like the Weldon Amendment are important to protecting conscience rights. However, enforcement of these laws lies in the hands of the executive branch, leaving many Americans to suffer the consequences of bad state policies in the absence of federal enforcement by an unwilling administration.
In 2016, after complaints were filed from several churches and employers in California, the Obama administration had the opportunity to enforce the Weldon Amendment against California -- but refused. Jack Hibbs, Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in California, is one of the pastors who stood up against this abortion coverage mandate, and was forced to give up his churches' health insurance plan as a result. On Washington Watch yesterday, he explained just how this mandate affected his church: "80 of our employees including myself lost their health care coverage because we could not take or receive offerings from the church family on Sunday and" then "turn right around and designate portions of that gift to God to . . . slaughter babies."
Now, after news that the Trump administration would take action to protect employers who refuse to cover abortion in their healthcare plans, other churches are encouraged and are taking a stand. Jack tells me that pastors and other leaders are coming to him and asking what to do next. "We have been praying for this kind of response for decades," Jack said. Yes, and amen. May we continue to pray for righteousness to sweep California, and our nation!