California’s conservatives, led by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, are fighting back against the state’s radical pro-abortion policy. The hope is that the state will reverse its abortion mandate, which requires private insurers to cover abortions (see The Daily Citizen article last week for more). This is a direct threat to the conscience rights of not just Californians, but all Americans. 

As citizens of the United States, every one of us should have the right to disagree, cordially, with each other on various issues. That’s the foundation of our democracy—but states like California, Washington, New York and some of the other radically liberal states want to strip away those foundations and replace them with progressive policies designed to censure conservative and religious free speech and expression. 

That is what California has done through the abortion mandate. It requires all private insurers, even churches and religious communities, to cover elective abortion procedures.

That’s not right, and House Minority Leader McCarthy and others want to fix that.

“I believe that life is a precious gift and God’s greatest miracle,” Rep. McCarthy said in a statement to The Daily Citizen. “However, California’s abortion mandate stretches way beyond whether an individual is pro-life or not. This is about protecting faith-based people from government discrimination and overreach. That’s why I am particularly grateful to be working alongside President Trump and the most pro-life administration in American history – one that not only values unborn children, but cares about protecting Americans’ civil liberties.”

For Pastor Jack Hibbs, founder and senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, this fight is personal. His church first became aware of this new mandate when the insurance company sent his church a letter informing them that the church would be required to pay for premiums to cover abortions. A passionate defender of life, Pastor Jack couldn’t imagine using parishioner money to pay for abortions.

“We are not going to pay for abortions,” Pastor Jack said in an interview with The Daily Citizen. “It was a spiritual violation, that was my argument before the state. You’re asking me not just to sin against my conscience, but to sin against the Bible. God is all for life, Jesus is all for life. He didn’t come to take life but to give it. We’re going to take it to the Supreme Court if we need to. I’m not going to go to jail for taxes, I’m not going to jail for the stripes on the street, but I’ll go to jail for preborn babies. This is where I die. It’s a life or death thing for us.”

“They have a ministry that works closely with the farm worker community and with immigrants,” Kevin Eckery, a spokesperson for the California Catholic Conference, said in an interview with the Catholic News Agency. “They just didn’t understand why their conscience rights were being ignored, so they took action for themselves and others.”

Other groups that have raised complaints with the federal government about this mandate include: the California Catholic Conference, employees of Loyola Marymount University, Skyline Church in La Mesa, Foothill Church and Foothill Christian School in Glendora, Alpine Christian Fellowship in El Cajon, The Shepherd of the Hills Church in Porter Ranch, City View Church in San Diego, Faith Baptist Church in Santa Barbara, and Missionary Gudalupanas of the Holy Spirit.

The state of California now has only two days to comply with the Weldon Amendment, which is a bill that “stops the federal government and any state or local government that receives federal funds from penalizing, retaliating against, or otherwise discriminating against a health care provider because the provider does not participate in abortions.” If the state refuses, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) may reevaluate some of the funding that the Golden State receives.

An independent business can make the decision to include elective abortion coverage in its health insurance. But ministries, churches and other religious and conservative groups should have the same right to exclude elective abortions from health care coverage. This is a matter of conscience, and no state policy should interfere.