Today, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights sent a “Notice of Violation” to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, informing him that the State’s Department of Managed Health Care was violating federal conscience protections by targeting our client, Skyline Wesleyan Church, for its pro-life beliefs.

With Planned Parenthood’s lobbying, State bureaucrats announced a policy in 2014 that pro-life churches like Skyline Church must pay for elective abortions through their insurance plans.

This policy meant that Skyline Church was forced to choose between its deeply held pro-life beliefs and providing health insurance to its employees.

Skyline Church’s pastor, Jim Garlow, asked the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund and Alliance Defending Freedom to represent them in a lawsuit against the California government.

In our case, we argue that government officials must respect religious freedom and that the First Amendment protects everyone’s right to freely live out their faith—even if that faith conflicts with the prevailing government ideology.

The case is on appeal, but the Trump Administration has recognized that California’s policy is blatantly illegal.

The HHS’ letter gave the State 30 days to show the HHS Office of Civil Rights that it has changed course or it risks losing federal funding.

The Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund commends the Trump administration in taking action against the State of California for its religiously discriminatory policies and its willful disregard for our client’s freedom of conscience.

Statement

A copy of the California Notice of Violation may be viewed here – PDF.

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