Michigan County Votes to Drop Abortion Coverage From Employee Health Plans
by Steven Ertelt
September 14, 2010
Grand Rapid, MI (LifeNews.com) — Kent County, Michigan has voted today to remove abortion coverage from the taxpayer-financed health care plans county employees receive. The vote could help spark a national trend to protect taxpayers from funding abortions for employees of state and local governments.
This morning, the Kent County Commission committee voted 9-0 to remove abortion coverage from the county health insurance plans.
The vote makes a formal request of County Administrator Daryl Delabbio to remove abortion coverage from the health insurance plans which cover Kent County employees.
Delabbio is requested to contact the county’s 13 labor unions to see if they will be willing to voluntarily drop the benefit. If they do not agree to do so, the Grand Rapids Press reports, Delabbio is directed to negotiate the removal of the abortion coverage during the next county employee contract negotiation.
Commissioner Pete Hickey, a Democrat, put forward a motion to have the entire county commission vote on the abortion coverage removal, but it was defeated.
Right to Life of Michigan and Grand Rapids Right to Life helped apply pressure by turning out local pro-life residents to the meeting. RLM Board Chairman Paul Miller provided pro-life testimony during the committee hearing.
The effort to remove abortion coverage from the county’s health insurance plans was initiated by three candidates Right to Life of Michigan endorsed: Democrat Bob Synk of Grand Rapids and Republicans Stan Ponstein of Grandville and Tom Antor of Sparta.
Miller noted, "This is a perfect example of the importance of local RLM-PAC endorsements."
Ponstein told the newspaper he didn’t agree with having to pay for abortions for county employees, especially as a member of the county government.
"I was never told as a commissioner that I would have to check my Christian beliefs at the door," Ponstein said.
Commenting on the decision, Right to Life of Michigan Director of Public Information Pamela Sherstad told LifeNews.com state residents should be proud.
"We applaud those who take a stand to protect human life. This initiative demonstrates that elected officials at the local level have opportunities to protect innocent unborn children and the conscience of tax-payers who do not want to fund abortion as a ‘health’ benefit," she said.
Related web sites:
Kent County Commissioners –
Right to Life of Michigan – https://www.rtl.org
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