Commissioners deadlocked in abortion vote

February 16, 2010 4:45:03 AM PST
The debate over whether Wake County employees should receive health insurance coverage for elective abortions heated up Monday.Several people showed up at the Board of Commissioners hearing to voice their opinions.

The commissioners were supposed to vote on whether to ratify a change to the county's health insurance policy that was made last week.

However, the board was deadlocked in a 3 to 3 vote and they got an earful from residents for both sides.

The issue of health insurance coverage for elective abortions directly impacts Paige Black as a Wake County employee, that's why she asked commissioners to get "your politics out of my doctor's office."

Paige, is one of several people who favor abortion rights and believe Wake County employees should continue to have coverage for elective abortions under their health insurance.

"Why would you discriminate against me due to my gender," she said.

Last week, the county's health insurance plan was changed to cover abortions only when they're medically necessary or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. Monday, commissioners decided against ratifying the amendment, still the change remains in effect.

"I am appalled by the actions that have been taken by this group," said Sandy Babb with NARAL, Pro-Choice North Carolina.

Those who favor abortion rights feel the commission should have done more to re-instate coverage.

"This is a caring commission, what happens to the women," Wake County resident Charlene Torrest said. "Why don't you care about women?"

However, those who oppose abortion made it clear their tax dollars should not go to fund an elective abortion.

"At a time when funds are tight for families and government, we must consider that this is an unnecessary expense charged to taxpayers," pro-life supporter Diana Starling said.

"Should the commission to cover elective abortions, I think it's been made clear that litigation will reasonably follow," Wake County resident Dorothy Young said.

The board could choose to bring up the issue again in the future, but regardless of how they act it seems litigation is likely from either side.

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