North Carolina County Drops Abortions From Employee Health Plan

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 13, 2011   |   12:31PM   |   Lexington, NC

A North Carolina county has voted to drop taxpayer funding of abortions from the health insurance plans all public employees receive from the Davidson County government.

On Tuesday night, the Davidson County Board of Commissioners voted 6-1 to approve an amendment to the county health care plan. All of the members of the commission voted for the amendment with the exception of Commissioner Don Truell. The amendment makes it so county residents will no longer be forced to pay for abortions for employees via their tax dollars with very rare exceptions such as in cases when the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother.

Commissioner Fred McClure, who sponsored the amendment, told The Dispatch newspaper about why he did so, and pointed to other countries such as Wake County that has approved a similar amendment.

“In essence it eliminates abortions performed as a measure of birth control for any other reason other than rape or incest,” McClure said.

The county has averaged paying for one employee’s abortion annually at a cost of $500. The newspaper indicated 52 percent, or 413 county workers, were enrolled in the current plan and another 385 people have enrolled in a higher-end plan the county provides.

In December 2010, Wake County officials made their jurisdiction the latest to cut taxpayer funded abortions for government employees — a move that is helping spread the new trend nationwide to get government out of the abortion business.

The county commission’s new Republican majority acted soon after commissioner-elect Phil Matthews was sworn in. Paul Coble, another Republican and the former mayor of Raleigh, was appointed chairman of the county commission and the board immediately took a series of votes, including removing abortion coverage from county employees’ health care plans.

In Wake County, employees have been able to get tax-funded abortions since 1994 and the previous County Commission approved the latest health care plan earlier this year, which includes the abortions. That voted followed one taken by the Kent County Commission in Grand rapids, Michigan.

In September, 201, the Kent County Commission voted 9-0 to remove abortion coverage from the county health insurance plans.

The county’s self-funded insurance plan is administered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and it has paid $5,601 for 13 abortions since 2004. The plan covers 82 percent of the more than 1,700 employees in the county, while the rest are covered under the fully insured Grand Valley Health Plan HMO, which does not pay for abortions.

The decision has already come under fire from the police union.

ACTION: Contact Davidson County Commissioners and thank them for their vote.