Wake County will no longer pay for elective abortions for employees, with leaders citing a 29-year-old state Supreme Court ruling which they say makes reimbursement for the practice illegal.
An agenda item for Monday’s Wake County Board of Commissioners meeting will address the change, but only to take note of it, not to ask permission, board chairman Tony Gurley said today. The change was made administratively Wednesday by county manager David Cooke, Gurley said.
“We don't pay for that any more,” Gurley said. “As soon as we were made aware it was illegal, we stopped doing it.”
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After Apex dropped coverage recently for elective abortion for its employees, legal analysts from the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood of North Carolina said governments have a choice.
The two groups analyzed city and county insurance rights in the state. They said that state statutes allow local governments to provide whatever benefits package is deemed appropriate without specific restriction on abortion coverage, a finding both Gurley and Apex Mayor Keith Weatherly dispute.
Gurley is wrong. The Stam case does not make it illegal for municipalities to provide abortion coverage to their employees in their health insurance plan.
This being North Carolina, though, public employees have no collective bargaining rights. So Gurley and his lackeys can make unilateral decisions about the terms of employment of county workers with impunity.
But here's the Durham impact. Turns out that Tony Gurley is the owner of Gurley's Pharmacy on Main Street in downtown Durham. If the dude wants to be so cavalier with the health of women employees of Wake County, that's up to the Wake County voters to act on. Durham residents, though, aren't obligated to do business with him. I know i won't. And rumor has it that Gurley is in his shop several days a week. I hope to stop by and let him know why he'll never see any of my business. Maybe i won't be the only one.