Local News

Elective abortion coverage sparks debate at Wake meeting

Posted February 15, 2010
Updated March 14, 2010

— The Wake County Board of Commissioners on Monday heard from the public concerning a controversial decision to eliminate coverage of elective abortions from the health plan for county employees.

After learning from County Attorney Scott Warren that the state Supreme Court outlawed payment for the procedure by public entities in 1981, County Manager David Cooke authorized on Feb. 10 to eliminate health plan coverage for elective abortions.

The county had apparently not noticed when its provider added the elective abortions coverage to the plans it provides.

The commissioners were scheduled Monday to ratify or otherwise support the move. However, commissioners deadlocked in a three-to-three vote.

The meeting then turned into a heated public debate on the issue with supporters of the change saying taxpayers shouldn't fund abortions. Taxpayers subsidize medical policy plans for government employees.

"I think the polls are clear that the vast majority of us don't want to support the funding of elective abortions with our tax dollars,” Triangle Right to Life Chair Dorothy Yeung said.

"Anyone who is intelligent enough to be employed by Wake County is also intelligent enough to know the consequences and the blessings that accompany having sex. The choice to have a child should be made before the clothes come off,” pro-life supporter Diana Starling said.

Pro-choice supporters, however, say female employees will suffer if elective abortions are eliminated from county health coverage.

"I am appalled as a woman. This is a slap in the face to every female employee,” said Sandy Babb, with NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina.

Apex leaders voted last month to eliminate coverage of elective abortions from town employees' health insurance plans.

"We don't believe it's a proper use of public money, taxpayers' money, to fund elective abortions," Apex Mayor Keith Weatherly said.

Weatherly said the federal government does not provide elective abortion coverage for its employees and that the town's decision is in line with federal standards.

Sarah Preston, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, said a municipality is within its means to eliminate health coverage of elective abortions. However, Preston said she thinks Wake County was bullied into the decision by Republican leaders looking to make abortion an issue at the local level. Her organization is considering legal action.

"Coverage for abortion procedures is not barred by law. In fact, to single out a service only used by women could be a violation of equal protection,” she said.

Apex and Wake County employees will still be reimbursed for abortions in cases of rape, incest or danger to the health of the mother.

Wake Commissioner Harold Webb, who is recovering from a recent stroke, was absent from Monday's vote. The commissioners could take up the issue again at a future meeting.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • whatusay Feb 22, 2010

    Nukka, wildcat,,,, what's your address. When/if my daughter gets pregnant and decides to have an abortion I would love to send the bill to y'all so you can pay it. You seem to believe abortion is a "right" for the individual but everyone else should pay for it. Why should I be forced to help kill an unborn child?

  • whatusay Feb 22, 2010

    I don't want my tax dollars paying to kill an unborn child. No tax dollars should be used to support abortion.

  • pyrosinthesky Feb 22, 2010

    cocker_mom, butterpie, there is nothing sensible about elective abortions. You are killing a child. Also, there is nothing about this that prevents you from getting an abortion. The taxpayers should just not pay for it. There are consequences to actions.

  • Nikka Feb 17, 2010

    These Christians need to take a chill pill and stop imposing Sharia on the masses.

  • cocker_mom Feb 16, 2010

    RB - you are likely right if that statement was applied consistently and without political or moral agendas being the driving force behind these omissions in coverage.

    We should probably look at insurance as a "disaster policy" for a major medical issue - cancer, open heart surgery, etc and go back to a fee for service method for the "rest" and any maintenance type care. (My guess is that would fix many things and introduce people and Dr's to the reality of costs instead of filing a form and getting paid with no real cash outlay from the patient, etc.)

    But - should I pay for a smoker's lung cancer treatment? Or a dipper's oral cancer surgery AND reconstruction (definitely elective)? Those were bad choices with very known risks. We also often pay for stupidity - jump out your window and break a leg - yup - insurance covers.

    Is anyone screaming about this? no. Only elective abortions. Thus the real driving force - not the poor choices / decisions argument.

  • Adelinthe Feb 16, 2010

    I'll probably get slammed for this, but I'm gona say it anyway.

    While being staunchly Pro-Choice, I don't believe any insurance should be made to pay for someone's poor choices and mistakes.

    That's something they should BOTH find the money to pay for on their own.

    God bless.


  • Tax Man Feb 16, 2010

    It is the law - if you don't like the law then seek to have it changed. Until the law is changed elective abortions should not be paid for by the taxpayers for public employees. The state legislature is where you take your argument, not the county - they are just doing the right thing in obeying the law.

  • elcid liked Ike Feb 16, 2010

    "What you meant to say was that you don't like people who use the law to push moral issues that differ from yours!"

    No. I am in the "can" business. Whatever you want to do to your own body, you CAN do. Just give others the same courtesy. People like Stam are in the "can't" business. "I don't like this and wouldn't do it, so you can't either. My comfort level is more important than your right to do as you please to yourself."

    I don't push my morals onto anyone. All I ask in return is that they show me the same courtesy.

  • AnotherIgnoredComment Feb 16, 2010

    Whoever is unjust let him be unjust still
    Whoever is righteous let him be righteous still
    Whoever is filthy let him be filthy still
    Listen to the words long written down,

    When the Man comes around

    A country is judged on how it treats its weakest members...none are more weak and defenseless than children in the womb.
    How is our country judged since 50 million abortions?

  • wildcat Feb 16, 2010

    If we should not pay for elective abortions which result from elective sex then we should not pay for health problems that result from elective smoking or elective drinking either. I would exclude over eating because people must eat to sustain life. The other two not so much.

    Worth repeating. Good point!