Saturday, January 25, 2020


Washington, D.C. - January 25, 2020 - (The Ponder News) -- The Trump administration moved to inhibit California from expanding abortion access to its citizens. Since 2014, California has required employers and insurance companies to include abortion as a covered benefit. Until today, California’s law has been federally permitted, but the administration has reversed course, threatening to withhold California’s federal funds over the state’s law. This announcement comes on the same day that President Donald Trump becomes the first sitting U.S. president to address the anti-abortion March for Life crowd in person.

the Trump Administration took action against a 2014 California policy forcing all insurance providers to include elective abortion in all health insurance policies sold in the state. According to a letter from the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS OCS) to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, California has 30 days to notify the Office whether it intends to continue enforcing its abortion coverage mandate, "or will instead agree to take corrective actions to come into compliance with the law." Failure to comply jeopardizes billions of dollars in federal funds that flow to California each year.

A little over five years ago, Life Legal Defense Foundation filed two complaints with the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS OCS). The complaints, filed on behalf of a number of California churches and residents, protested the decision by the Director of California's Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) to mandate that all health insurance policies sold in California had to provide coverage for elective abortions.

As today's letter from the HHS-OCR explains, the DMHC decision was the direct result of lobbying by abortion advocates, who had been outraged to learn that some religious employers had been able to secure, with DMHC approval, health coverage for their employees that did not include elective abortion. As the letter explains, "Abortion providers and advocacy groups, including Planned Parenthood. . . . pressured DMHC to not only reverse its decision to allow the coverage changes, but also to make elective abortion coverage mandatory for all health care plans falling under DMHC's jurisdiction."

DMHC responded to the "pressure campaign" by sending letters to the seven California health service plan insurers, ordering them to include coverage for abortion "without exclusion or limitation" in every plan they offered. This move "forced over 28,000 people out of plans that up until that time had chosen not to cover elective abortions."

As explained in Life Legal's complaints to the HHS-OCR, California's actions violate the Weldon Amendment, which prohibits various sources of federal money from going to any state or local government that discriminates against any health care entity "on the basis that the health care entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions."

Under the Obama administration, those complaints languished for over a year and half, before we finally received a response, claiming that no violation was found.

However, under President Trump, the issue was re-examined, and today the Office of Civil Rights notified California of its determination that California's abortion mandate is in violation of the Weldon Amendment, and that the state must correct its policy if it is to continue to receive funds under several federal appropriations bills

"Abortion advocates will claim that Trump is jeopardizing the well-being of California residents by threatening to withhold these federal funds," said Life Legal's Vice President for Legal Affairs Catherine Short, who filed the complaints in 2014. "In fact, it is pro-abortion extremists in the state government who have decided that their highest priority is to force every man, woman, and child, every employer and employee, every church and school in California to be complicit in taking the lives of the most innocent and vulnerable among us."

Catholic League president Bill Donohue commented on President Trump’s decision to address the March for Life crowd by saying, "Other presidents have offered their support to the pro-life cause, but only President Donald Trump has decided to participate in the March for Life. His pro-life record, coupled with his record in defense of religious liberty, makes him the most important Christian voice in the United States. No president, including President Ronald Reagan, can match his stellar achievements on these twin issues.

By contrast, we have the likes of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, both of whom have endorsed infanticide: there are no penalties for doctors who intentionally allow an innocent baby to die if he or she survives a botched abortion. However, First Prize goes to California Governor Gavin Newsom: he out-Hitlerized both men.

Earlier this month, Newsom said he wants to stop euthanizing animals. “We want to be a no-kill state.” Yet last year he issued a California Proclamation on Reproductive Freedom, one part of which was designed to welcome “women to California to fully exercise their reproductive rights.” In other words, his enthusiasm for killing the least among us is so passionate that he extended an open invitation to pregnant women across the United States to have their babies killed in his home state.

It will surprise no one to learn that Newsom is also a proponent of assisted suicide. Indeed, he likes it so much that he boasts of his role in assisting a person to commit suicide in 2002. That person was his mother. [At that time assisted suicide was a felony in California—he put her down in San Francisco.]

It’s too bad Mr. “No-Kill State” Newsom didn’t think of his mother the way he thinks of hamsters.

These are sick times. Kudos to President Trump for standing up for the most defenseless human beings. He looks positively angelic next to these monsters."

Jamille Fields Allsbrook, director of women’s health and rights at the Center for American Progress, stated, "Today’s announcement is just the latest move in the administration’s unending effort to take away access to reproductive health care, including abortion, and ultimately to control women’s bodily autonomy. This rollback comes days after the Trump administration took the unprecedented step toward allowing Texas to use federal funds to discriminate against trusted family planning providers—including but not limited to Planned Parenthood—undermining patients’ access to sexual and reproductive health care. Today’s announcement also comes a month after the administration finalized a rule that is aimed at forcing insurers to drop abortion coverage by imposing unnecessary, onerous administrative requirements on insurers and consumers. These three actions are among many this administration has taken over the course of the past three years to target reproductive health care."

Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) had a message for all those who attended the March for Life: “To all who march today, thank you. Thank you for every sacrifice you made in order to march for the most important issue of our day. Thank you for giving your time and for braving the cold to stand as a voice for the voiceless and to hear from one of the most pro-life leaders in our nation’s history, President Trump. Do not worry when the national liberal media writes you off and says you can’t make a difference. They wrote him off too.”

Last year, Vice President Mike Pence made a surprise appearance and the president also gave a message of support for the cause to attendees via a live video feed. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and George W. Bush all addressed the March for Life but their remarks were pre-taped or they were aired via a live video call.