RALEIGH, N.C. — After hearing intense legal and moral arguments on both sides, the Wake County Board of Commissioners Monday agreed to reinstate county employees' insurance coverage for elective abortions.
With Democrats outvoting Republicans 4-3, members reversed an action last month by county manager David Cooke, who removed the coverage from the county's self-insured plan based on language in a 1981 Supreme Court case.
During an extended public comment period, board members heard arguments for reinstating the coverage from Planned Parenthood and the ACLU as well as impassioned pleas in opposition from people opposed to county funding of elective abortions.
"Please do not use my family's money to destroy what God created," said Raleigh resident Diana Starling.
Sarah Preston, legislative director of the state ACLU office, argued for reinstating the coverage. "It's a very difficult decision," Preston said. "Placing additional burdens on a woman already in a difficult situation will not help anyone."
Discussion of the issue was heightened by controversy about board member Stan Norwalk's recent remarks that abortions were less costly for the county paying for children brought to full term. Norwalk said his statement was made in the context of the discussion preceding a similar ban in Apex.
"The basis of my position is that I don’t think that government should be telling women what to do with their bodies," Norwalk said.
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