Wake County no longer covering elective abortions for its employees | Wake County | Indy Week
Pin It

Wake County no longer covering elective abortions for its employees 

Wake County Attorney Scott Warren says that if the county retains coverage of elective abortions in its health insurance program for employees, "I can't say, if we got sued, we'd win." And Warren says it's his job is to advise county leaders how to avoid expensive litigation wherever possible.

Warren called in response to our story ("Wake Commission mulls abortion coverage for county employees"). He'd asked (as we reported) that we submit questions to him in writing. We did, in an e-mail, but the e-mail didn't reach him, nor did it arrive when we re-sent it this morning. (The county's spam filters may have something against "abortion" on the subject line?)

Warren said he'll wait to see if he's asked the question directly when the Wake Commissioners meet on Monday before saying if it's his "legal opinion" that they ought to drop the abortion coverage.

He added, "I reviewed and approved the agenda item, which may tell you what you need to know."

The item, which Commission Chairman Tony Gurley put on the agenda, would drop the coverage.

(The News & Observer is reporting that Wake County Manager David Cooke changed the policy Wednesday and that elective abortions are no longer covered. The county's self-insurance plan, The N&O reported, will pay for abortions in cases of incest, rape or danger to the life of the mother. Update: Cooke confirmed to the Indy what the N&O reported. He acknowledged that there are "differing legal opinions out there" but took action to remove the coverage based on the county attorney's advice.)

Warren said the N.C. Supreme Court's holding in the case of Stam v. State (1981) is problematic for Wake County, because Wake was the original defendant in the case and the court's holding is directed at Wake.

The original case was "in the context of" a welfare program for pregnant, indigent women, Warren said. But the holding "is not limited to that context," and it says the defendant—Wake County—"exceeded its statutorily conferred power in levying the tax involved [i.e., property taxes] in the funding of medically unnecessary abortions."

The legislature could clarify that counties have the authority to include coverage for elective abortions in health insurance benefits, Warren added. It hasn't done so. Changing the health insurance program doesn't strip employees of their right to choose abortions, Warren said. It would mean, rather, that Wake County's insurance plan won't help pay for them the same as the federal government's insurance plans don't—and haven't since 1976.

  • N.C. Supreme Court ruling allows the county to drop coverage

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Wake County



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

I think this is such a wonderful idea, but would love to know more about the location. The venerable Square …

by Gavin Watson on With Carroll’s Kitchen, a Raleigh Restauranteur Hopes to Empower the Disadvantaged (Wake County)

Based on having visited a number of friends at the Sir Walter over the years it is not quite accurate …

by Hank living downtown on When the Sir Walter Apartments Building Is Sold, Raleigh May Lose 140 Affordable Units (Wake County)

I spent some months this spring and summer looking for subsidized housing where I could retire on SSI income. While …

by Bill Robinson on When the Sir Walter Apartments Building Is Sold, Raleigh May Lose 140 Affordable Units (Wake County)

The republicans were voted into office in NC using the same voter laws they now want to change....Why are they …

by Tony D on Wake’s Early Voting Debate Illustrates Why It’s Time to Rethink Partisan Elections Boards (Wake County)

Yes. If course. That's correct. I'm not saying that U-238 is not a concern; obviously it is, or a maximum …

by ct on From 2010–2014, Wake County Found 40 Private Wells with Dangerous Levels of Uranium. Then It Stopped Testing. (Wake County)

Comments

I think this is such a wonderful idea, but would love to know more about the location. The venerable Square …

by Gavin Watson on With Carroll’s Kitchen, a Raleigh Restauranteur Hopes to Empower the Disadvantaged (Wake County)

Based on having visited a number of friends at the Sir Walter over the years it is not quite accurate …

by Hank living downtown on When the Sir Walter Apartments Building Is Sold, Raleigh May Lose 140 Affordable Units (Wake County)

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation