California May Force Catholic Universities to Pay for Abortions

State   |   Wesley J. Smith   |   Aug 11, 2014   |   6:20PM   |   Sacramento, CA

Two California Catholic universities–Santa Clara and Loyola–want not to cover “elective” abortion in their health insurance policies.

That won’t do! After first giving its OK, California may now try to force them. From the San Francisco Chronicle story.

The state Department of Managed Health Care is conducting “an in-depth analysis of the issues surrounding coverage for abortion services under California law,” said Marta Green, the department’s chief deputy director.

What the department is reconsidering, as first reported by California Lawyer magazine, is whether the universities are violating a 1975 state law that requires managed health plans to cover all “medically necessary” procedures. Until the current controversy arose, insurers in California had treated all abortions sought by women in their health plans as medically necessary.

californiaThe term “medically necessary” is one used in insurance to determine whether a procedure is covered. It is not the same as elective vs. non-elective procedures.

Still, it is hard to see how abortions are truly medically necessary. Here is the definition:

A. Appropriate for the symptoms and diagnosis or treatment of a condition, illness or injury.

B. Provides for the diagnosis or direct care and treatment of the condition, illness or injury.

C. In accordance with the standards of good medical practice in the service area.

D. Not primarily for the convenience of a plan member or a plan provider.

E. The most appropriate level or type of service or supply that can safely be provided to the plan member.

Most abortions actually fall under D–for convenience.

Insurance companies can treat abortion as medically necessary if they so choose–no doubt because it is cheaper for them than paying for a pregnancy and beyond.

Click here to sign up for daily pro-life news alerts from

But that isn’t the issue. The question is whether the state should force all abortions to be deemed medically necessary, and hence, mandate all insurance plans to cover every abortion.

For the universities, this is a religious issue:

Leaders of both universities said they were driven by religious principles. “Our core commitments as a Catholic university are incompatible with the inclusion of elective abortion in the university’s health plans, Engh’s office said in a statement.

So what? Conscience on issues such as abortion cannot be allowed.

Do you see how abortion–like slavery did in the 19th century–corrupts everything it touches? Note: Wesley J. Smith, J.D., is a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture and a bioethics attorney who blogs at Human Exeptionalism.