A California pastor said that he'd rather go to jail than comply with a state mandate that his church's health insurance plan cover abortion services.
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Senior Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in Chino, California, has made it no secret that he's pro-life and opposes the recent regulatory change that now requires all employer health plans in the state to cover elective abortions.
According to Live Action News, Hibbs and his church are opposing the California Department of Managed Healthcare's decision to enact this requirement.
"I felt violated; I felt forced. I love America and I love American history, and I have a lot of invested interest in defending the unborn," Hibbs said. "I see the Constitution under attack, and I see my religious freedom under attack."
Hibbs is joining six other faith leaders, the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal firm, and the Life Legal Defense Foundation, a pro-life group, in battling back against the abortion mandate by waging an official complaint with the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The pastor told Live Action News that he, among others, is willing to go to prison, if needed, to protect his rights.
"We will take this to the point of being jailed, if necessary, being arrested, if necessary – whatever it takes. I cannot violate my biblical worldview," he told the outlet. "Once I have to do that, I no longer live in the United States our founding fathers gave me."
Casey Mattox, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, told TheBlaze last month that the regulatory amendment requiring abortion coverage took effect August 22, with the government giving 90 additional days for the language in health care plans to officially change.
Mattox explained in a story for The Federalist at the time that the change resulted from “the insistence of the American Civil Liberties Union,” with California officials subsequently deciding that abortion now falls under “basic health services” in the state.
But Mattox told TheBlaze that this regulatory situation is curious, as churches are now exempt from providing contraception, but not abortion.
“Churches are exempt from both state and federal … mandates,” he said. “They don’t have to provide contraception, but they have to provide abortion.”
So, the Alliance Defending Freedom — known for fighting religious freedom battles across the nation, and the Life Legal Defense Foundation — have intervened to ask the federal government to step in and stop California’s abortion mandate.
Pastor Jack Hibbs (RealLifeWithJackHibbs.org)
“What we have at this point is an administrative complaint filed with the Office for Civil Rights for [Health and Human Services],” Mattox said. “We’re asking the federal HHS to enforce federal law against California.”
The attorney said that states like California that receive federal funding are prohibited from discriminating against a health care plan that doesn’t offer abortion coverage.
And if the federal government doesn’t step in stop the abortion regulation, Mattox said a lawsuit could follow.
(H/T: Live Action News)