President Donald Trump announced another big win for the pro-life community this week.
According to Breitbart, the Trump administration has confirmed it will pull $200 million in federal funding from California and file a lawsuit against a Vermont medical center for discriminatory actions related to abortion services.
The latest steps are said to be part of a larger effort by the president to protect the rights of abortion opponents.
Efforts to overturn California policy fail
After issuing a warning, the civil rights arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on Wednesday that it would nix the $200 million set aside for funding California Medicaid providers for every quarter that the state ignores a federal anti-discrimination law protecting insurers from being forced to cover abortion.
According to U.S. News & World Report, the HHS decision regarding the perceived breach of the Weldon Amendment is set to go into effect in January.
The decision stemmed from a 2014 policy designating abortion as “medically necessary” and requiring insurance plans to cover it without exception. Though religious groups in the state challenged the policy, those attempts to overturn it were ultimately unsuccessful.
According to the HHS, the controversial regulation “forced employer groups associated with over 28,000 individuals out of plans that until that time had chosen to not cover elective abortions.”
“Deep emotional trauma”
Separately, the Department of Justice is filing a lawsuit against the University of Vermont Medical Center, which receives HHS grant money, after the latter agency filed a notice of violation in 2019 for allegedly forcing staff to perform abortions in contravention of church policy.
A former nurse at the hospital filed the complaint in 2018, citing “deep emotional trauma” as a result of the policy, as ABC News reported.
Dr. Stephen Leffler, the hospital’s CEO, denied the charge and accused the Trump administration of an “attack on reproductive care,” according to Breitbart.
Similarly, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom chided Trump for defending a “patriarchal system” and suggested that the administration’s position is somehow “eliminating health care” amid a pandemic.
But HHS Secretary Alex Azar maintains that the decisions are an important step forward. “California and the University of Vermont Medical Center have violated federal conscience laws and refused to work with us to take corrective action, so we are now taking action to hold them to account,” he said, according to Breitbart.