More than new fiscal year

Today is the beginning of a new fiscal year. To many, the first day of July is primarily of financial significance. But for some municipal employees in North Carolina, today marks a new limit on their Constitutional right to choose abortion.

Vehement anti-choice state Rep. Paul Stam provoked local elected officials across the state — from Apex to Gastonia and Pitt County to Lincoln County — to remove abortion coverage from governmental employee health plans. Many municipalities made this change in their new budgets effective today. While some city and county managers made the decision to cut off benefits for their employees, others decided to put the coverage to a vote. How many of them would want their private medical issues debated in a public forum?

Removing abortion coverage from an employee benefit package is a clear example of politicians placing their own divisive agenda ahead of what is best for the citizens of the towns and counties they represent. It is appalling that policymakers would do the bidding of anti-choice extremists instead of working for the common good of the people they serve. Town councils and county commissioners should be concerned with improving the economy or taking care of basic city services, not inserting themselves into the divisive debate over abortion.

Despite what anti-choice advocates would like us to believe, abortion coverage is part of comprehensive health care. More than 85 percent of private insurance plans provide coverage. It  is shameful that hardworking employees would be denied this benefit simply because they work for the city or county.

The citizens of North Carolina are tired of politicians using their own views of morality to legislate away our reproductive options. Insurance plans should provide coverage that allows people to make personal and private decisions about their health. The women who are working for us in our cities and counties deserve that right just as much as the rest of us.

Written by Erica Scott, Civic Engagement Coordinator for NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina and Patricia Dillon, Field Coordinator for Planned Parenthood Health Systems, Inc.

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More than new fiscal year