Statement on the Office of Civil Rights Ruling on California’s Attempt to Define Abortion as Basic Health Care

Sacramento, CA – After almost two years of little or no activity, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) has ruled that the Bishops of California and others filing complaints do not have standing to object to a California agency mandating that religious organizations and individuals pay for all abortions in their managed health care plans.

“When California – without public hearings or sufficient notification – defined abortion as a basic health care service two years ago it became absolutely necessary to file this complaint,” explained Edward “Ned” Dolejsi, executive director of the California Catholic Conference.  “Forcing organizations and individuals to violate their religious convictions is a threat to fundamental human liberties.  To do so without due process disdains honest public discourse.  Taking two years to decide a simple question of standing is an appalling delay of basic justice that has placed those who do not wish to pay for all abortions in their privately purchased health care plan in an untenable position.”    

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