Pro-life group appeals to Trump admin for relief from state-mandated abortion insurance

The abortion requirements for health insurance under Oregon’s Reproductive Health Equity Act would force Oregon Right to Life to violate its mission, the group argues.

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The Department of Health and Human Services building in Washington, D.C.Sarah Stierch (CC BY 4.0)

PORTLAND, Oregon, January 20, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Oregon Right to Life (ORTL) has filed a complaint against the state of Oregon with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, arguing that the abortion requirements for health insurance under the state’s Reproductive Health Equity Act would force the pro-life group to violate its mission.

According to a statement, ORTL executive director Lois Anderson said the group “exists to advocate for vulnerable human beings who are not protected under law.”

“Under this mandate, we are literally being forced to violate our mission and very reason for existing,” she added. ORTL objects to the state’s requirement that health benefit plans provided by employers include coverage for abortions and contraceptives that can act as abortifacients, as well as related services.

In an email to LifeSiteNews, ORTL spokesperson Liberty Pike said the Office of Civil Rights at HHS has confirmed receipt of the complaint.

According to the group’s statement, ORTL attorney James Bopp, Jr. said, “Oregon’s mandate that pro-life groups cover abortion on demand in its employee health plans violates their conscience rights under the Weldon Amendment. Weldon requires states to protect such conscience rights or lose federal funds. Oregon receives lots of federal funding that it is putting at risk.”

The Weldon Amendment is a federal law that prohibits state government agencies from using federal funds to discriminate against health care entities that do not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions. According to an ORTL statement, “Oregon’s abortion coverage mandate, compelling ORTL to include coverage of abortion and abortifacients in its insurance plan, unconstitutionally burdens ORTL and violates the Weldon Amendment.”

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