Religious nonprofits in California have filed complaints with federal regulators alleging that state health officials are requiring them to pay for abortions and some forms of birth control under employee health plans, Religion News Service writes.
The flap stems from a state mandate that commercial insurers cover abortion services. In an August letter to insurance firms, the head of the California Department of Managed Health Care told insurance firms that "all health plans must treat maternity services and legal abortion neutrally."
The letter notes that state law provides an exemption for religious institutions, and in a statement the managed-care agency said it regulates only insurance providers, not purchasers. But an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious-liberty advocacy group, said seven California churches have been told by insurers that elective surgical abortion coverage must be part of their employee health plans.