Pastor: I’d go to jail before funding abortion

UPDATE: California churches sue state over forced abortion coverage

Pro-life legal group, Alliance Defending Freedom, has filed a federal lawsuit against the California Department of Managed Health Care for “forcing churches to pay for elective abortions in their health insurance plans.”

The churches participating in the lawsuit are Foothill Church in Glendora, Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in Chino, and The Shepherd of the Hills Church in Porter Ranch.

ADF legal counsel Jeremiah Galus explained that “Because Obamacare requires health insurance coverage, and the California mandate requires abortion coverage in any health plan, these churches are truly left with no way to opt out of paying for abortions.”

“Churches should not be forced to pay for the killing of innocent human life,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. “The government has no right to demand that church health insurance plans contain coverage for abortion – something that violates these churches’ most sincerely held religious beliefs. California is violating the Constitution by strong-arming churches into having this coverage in their plans.”

Below is our original 11/9/2014 story on Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills who is now part of the lawsuit against the State of California:

On a Sunday morning, congregants fill the campus of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, a non-denominational evangelical church located in the heart of Southern California. Since the church’s inception, Senior Pastor Jack Hibbs – a strong pro-life proponent – has encouraged his congregation to uphold religious values and fundamental liberties in the public square. Now, the church is opposing a California mandate egregiously imposed on religious institutions across the Golden State. The congregation is challenging a decision by the California Department of Managed Healthcare that forces all employers, including churches, to provide coverage for elective abortions in all health insurance plans.

“I felt violated; I felt forced,” Hibbs said in response to the abortion mandate. “I love America and I love American history, and I have a lot of invested interest in defending the unborn. I see the Constitution under attack, and I see my religious freedom under attack.”

In an interview with Live Action, Hibbs said the DMHC’s decision is a flagrant violation of the right of churches and pastors to freely exercise their freedom of conscience. Hibbs and his congregation have joined six other churches across the state in a legal challenge opposing the coercion.

The seven churches, represented by Alliance Defending Freedom and Life Legal Defense Foundation, filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last month, contending that the DMHC order is an encroachment on religious liberty, as protected under the Constitution.

The complaint notes, “DMHC is an arm of the State of California and purports to be interpreting and applying the law of California, a state that receives billions of taxpayer dollars. … California accepted those funds with full knowledge of the requirements of the Weldon Amendment, but it has chosen to ignore this law. The need to remedy this discrimination is urgent because it is immediately depriving Complainants of a health plan that omits elective abortions.”

Hibbs said he, in concert with pastors named in the legal challenge, will do whatever it takes to send this message to the state of California:

“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,” Hibbs said. “Once I have to do that, I no longer live in the United States our founding fathers gave me.”

“This abortion issue for a Christian is not a political issue – it’s a biblical issue,” Hibbs added. “God is the engineer of life – he’s the giver of life. I cannot think of a human being more defenseless than an unborn baby.”

Alliance Defending Freedom called the DMHC requirement an “assault” on the most fundamental American freedoms. In a statement, ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox explained that the DMHC mandate directly violates the 2004 Weldon Amendment, a law passed by Congress that protects religious organizations from being forced to pay for abortion in health insurance plans. Life Legal Defense Foundation’s Legal Director Catherine Short said the DMHC mandate is political kowtowing to the big abortion lobby.

“This move was a pure power play, and we trust that the Department of Health and Human Services will take the necessary steps to bring the state into compliance with federal law,” Short said.

The decision by the DMHC comes in the aftermath of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court Burwell v Hobby Lobby decision which affirmed the right of closely held for-profit corporations to opt out of abortion funding. California’s decision to single-handily impose the mandate on religious institutions side-steps federal law and legal precedence.

Earlier this year, ADF and LLDF warned the DMHC that it was in violation of federal law. The department responded, affirming its decision to enforce abortion funding in all health insurance plans. The legal group duo also filed a complaint in September with HHS on behalf of employees at Loyola Marymount University.

Although the coalition consists of a small number of churches, Hibbs said the case is starting to gain national attention. He explained that pastors and ministries across the state are now seeking to join the effort.

“We have been suffering under a rogue government,” Hibbs said. “I think Californians are waking up and churches are starting to wake up. I’m a pastor and I have faith in God, and I know my Bible. He always moves with a small group of people – he always moves with a remnant.”

Calvary Chapel Chino Hills joins other prominent churches, including 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 and Faith Baptist Church in Santa Barbara.

  • WorldGoneCrazy

    “We have been suffering under a rogue government,” Hibbs said. “I think Californians are waking up and churches are starting to wake up. I’m a pastor and I have faith in God, and I know my Bible. He always moves with a small group of people – he always moves with a remnant.”
    Truer words were never spoken. God bless you, Pastor! Stand firm!

  • JDC

    This is awesome! If everyone who opposed abortion had this much courage, we would never face these types of mandates to begin with.

    • MamaBear

      Indeed! What these churches and pastors are doing is awesome! But, California has thousands of Christian churches, schools, hospitals, and other Christian ministries. Imagine the impact if they all stood up like this!

      • Tylei

        Yes, by the size of California, and the number of churches it has, it could bring a tidal wave of change in our favor. Coniunctis stamus, divisum declinemus.

    • paul

      Why is Obama Care special there are exceptions for religious grpups agencies even under the Civil Rights Acts passed by Congress. Biden recommended long ago dropping the mandate that companies that have religious values be forced to provide contraception and abortions. Do you know what an abortion costs if its self pay? Well back in the 90’s it was $50 am sure the price has not go0e up those who have enough money to date have sex etc should be able to pay for their own protection or go to a free clinic do not burden our conscience or our insurers with something that is not a medical problem promiscuous sex

      • JDC

        Honestly, I’m not sure why you’re asking me all of this.

        • paul

          I did not know I was asking you anything the post are general comments for everyone

        • paul

          Why are you replying to me I thought the post were general comments for all

          • JDC

            You’re the one who replied to me in your original comment. As such I assumed the questions were directed at me.

    • Barrustio

      Exactly…the churches should have fought “elective” abortions way back when. They have become so “chic” that women think nothing of having several.

  • Chrissy the Hyphenated

    Where are the Catholic churches of California?!

    • …in California?

    • JDC

      I don’t know, but given that they are the largest church in California, it seems that this is somewhere that they could make a difference.

  • Simon Smith

    BOOYAH! Amen pastor brother. Standing with you from across the pond in UK!

  • TJ

    Keep up the Lord’s work Pastor Jack! May God bless you!!!

  • colleen10001

    Good Man….Prayers…

  • colleen10001

    Behind You Pastor In Prayers…..

  • paul

    Insurance covers medical problems fertility is not a problem the opposite is infertility and zero population growth to protect Al Gore’s planet

  • Basset_Hound

    Many years ago, when our Pastor Emeritus was still active, someone approached him wanting to make a large donation. The moment he found out the intended donation was to come from an abortionists, the pastor refused to accept the money under ANY circumstances.

  • Kudos to this pastor. I see this as a human rights issue though. Not a “biblical” issue.

    • Tylei

      We all see this as a human rights issue, regardless of any faiths.

  • LoveTheLeast8

    Huge respect for Pastor Hibbs!

  • hartisland


  • PJ4
  • MamaBear

    Good question.

  • james

    The churches are silent because they are afraid to loose their tax free status. If church leaders ever get under conviction of the Holy Spirit and return to GOD and HIS teaching, we as Christians, could have tremendous power over the evil all around. (Read 2 Chronicles 7:14) Jesus said “With out Me you can do nothing” Let’s all take a stand as these pastors did. God Bless. Jim

  • sgm

    Obama should be the one in jail.

  • luvsanimalsnomatter

    overall I do not support abortion.. BUT should a woman or child that is raped be forced to carry a child to term because of a law.. talk about trauma and ptsd to say the leaat..I’m just asking for guidance and peace of mind.. not up for debate or bashing.. thank you!

  • Victoria Ramirez

    Pastor Jack Hibbs is a wonderful pastor of our church @ calvary chapel has messages from God are so to the heart of being and living a Christian ..a real Christian ….Glory to God