by Steven Ertelt
December 9, 2004
Sacramento, CA (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates have filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate a provision attached to a spending bill President Bush signed yesterday. The provision protects hospitals, health insurance companies and medical personnel from being forced to be involved with abortions.
California state attorney general Bill Lockyer filed the lawsuit against the measure, co-sponsored by pro-life Reps. Dave Weldon, a Florida doctor, and Henry Hyde.
"This is an unprecedented attack on women’s rights and state sovereignty,” Lockyer said in a statement accompanying the released of his suit. He called the measure "a back-door attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade."
The measure ensures that state and local governments receiving money from the federal Health and Human Services Department cannot discriminate against health care providers that do not perform abortions, pay for abortions, provide insurance coverage for abortions or refer to agencies that perform abortions.
Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, a pro-life California group, contends the state wouldn’t lose any federal money if it didn’t force health care entities to be involved in the abortion business.
"California doesn’t have to lose any federal funds," Thomasson said. "Instead of behaving like a lawyer for the wealthy abortion groups, Lockyer should immediately draft legislation to conform California to the new federal law."
Thomasson said Lockyer should "cease and desist from forcing doctors and nurses to horribly kill unborn children against their own conscience."
Lockyer’s lawsuit was filed in a California-based federal court and he seeks a declaration that the Hyde-Weldon amendment is invalid.
His actions drew praise from abortion advocacy groups such as the ACLU and Planned Parenthood.
Julie Sternberg, an attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said, "We applaud California for taking the lead in stopping this sweeping and dangerous measure, and we will do everything we can to support that effort."
Pro-life groups say the measure is necessary because abortion advocates are working feverishly to require hospitals and insurance companies to perform or pay for abortions.
Maureen Bailey of the pro-life office of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, told Zenit that "the ACLU of New Jersey intervened in a hospital merger in an attempt to force a Catholic hospital to build an abortion clinic."
"In Florida, after a community hospital joined a cost-sharing consortium with a Catholic system and ceased performing abortions, it was sued by the city of St. Petersburg, which leased land to the hospital," Bailey explained. "Soon the ACLU sued both the city and the hospital. Under the pressure of the lawsuits, the hospital left the cost-saving consortium."
The Senate is expected to vote on a bill after it reconvenes next year to overturn the Hyde-Weldon measure. It is doubtful the measure will pass.