President Donald Trump is cutting California’s federal funding by $200 million over the state’s requirement for healthcare plans to cover abortions, his administration announced Wednesday.
The administration argues California is in violation of the Weldon Act, with mandates that insurers not be punished for declining to offer abortion coverage. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar says despite the Trump administration’s efforts to bring the state into compliance, California “refused” to take any corrective action.
“Under President Trump, HHS has worked like never before to enforce laws Congress has passed to protect Americans’ religious freedom and conscience rights,” Azar said in a Wednesday statement. “California…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.”
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra flouted the Trump administration’s January warning that the state was not in compliance, according to HHS. (RELATED: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra Sues Amazon Over Refusal To Turn Over COVID Safety Data)
The funding cut is unlikely to last long, however, with President-elect Joe Biden’s administration just weeks away. Biden has also announced that he will nominate Becerra to replace Azar as HHS secretary.
Pro-life activists have been critical of Becerra since Biden announced his nomination in November, describing him as “aggressively pro-abortion.”
— Susan B. Anthony List (@SBAList) December 7, 2020
Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton echoed the sentiment on Twitter.
“Xavier Becerra spent his career attacking pro-life Americans and tried to force crisis pregnancy centers to advertise abortions,” Cotton said. “He’s been a disaster in California and he is unqualified to lead HHS.”
Xavier Becerra spent his career attacking pro-life Americans and tried to force crisis pregnancy centers to advertise abortions.
He’s been a disaster in California and he is unqualified to lead HHS.
I’ll be voting no, and Becerra should be rejected by the Senate. https://t.co/mEvpMrqPeH
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) December 7, 2020