NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Trump administration said on Friday that California cannot require health insurers to cover abortions and threatened to cut some federal healthcare funds unless it pulls that requirement.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a notice that the state is violating a federal law called the Weldon Amendment. The notice of violation comes as the result of an investigation by HHS’ Office for Civil Rights.
“No one in America should be forced to pay for or cover other people’s abortions,” Roger Severino, director of HHS’ Office for Civil Rights, said in a statement.
HHS said it could limit some funds the department sends to the state if California does not assure it within 30 days that it will come into compliance with the law. It did not specify which funds or how much it could cut.
The announcement comes as U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to be the first American president to attend the annual “March for Life” to be held in Washington on Friday, underscoring his outspoken support for the anti-abortion movement.
“Women’s health should never be dangled as bait for the sake of political grandstanding,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement.
“In California, we will continue to protect our families’ access to healthcare, including women’s constitutional right to abortion. Nothing changes.”
(Reporting by Michael Erman; editing by Diane Craft and Jonathan Oatis)