Breaking: NC League of Municipalities to cut abortion coverage

Looks like it's time to sharpen the knives, folks. Herr Stam, the unelected king of North Carolina, just said screw you to every female employee of every town or city in North Carolina. Via Twitter from Rose Hoban:

NC League move affects ~9K town and muni workers across NC. League head Hankins sez move initiated at the suggestion of Rep Paul Stam (R Wake)

Looks like it's time for a statewide strike by city and town employees. Spread the word.

Comments

Contacting my local elected reps in Chapel Hill

Thanks James for the heads up.

Chapel Hill residents, please consider contacting our reps at:

mayorandcouncil@townofchapelhill.org

Mayor Kleinschmidt - 919-968-2714

Direct contact info:

http://www.ci.chapel-hill.nc.us/index.aspx?page=84

Carrboro:

http://townofcarrboro.org/BoA/boaMembership.htm

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

Even if this doesn't directly involve your community....

Though this doesn't directly impact Chapel Hill's staff, the reason I contacted Chapel Hill's Mayor and Council was because our town is a member of the League of Municipalities and can help bolster their response to Apex's move.

The Indy relates that the NC League's response, so far, is neutral:

The N.C. League of Municipalities has no position either, said Kelli Kukura, director of government affairs. Kukura said the issue will be discussed at an upcoming meeting of the league's insurance board.

The ACLU's Preston, however, says the Stam case "has only a tenuous connection" to insurance benefits. In fact, her memorandum argues, North Carolina statutes give the counties and cities broad authority to provide "whatever compensation and benefits package the local government deems appropriate."

http://www.indyweek.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A409955

Because it's in direct conflict with the policies our town has adopted, Chapel Hill should stand firm as a league member and work to strengthen employees access to a range of reproductive and other health services.

More from the N&O:

Apex's decision to break from the standard policy raises new questions about local government's role in abortion rights. "There's very rarely a case when you have a locality tackling this issue," said Williamjames Hoffer, a history professor at Seton Hall University and co-editor of "The Abortion Rights Controversy in America: A Legal Reader." "These kinds of issues are usually taken up at the state and federal levels."

Hoffer said Apex could risk legal challenges based on the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

"They are technically a state entity, which means they get their authority to do things from state governments. Since state governments are included under the 14th amendment, anything a locality does in an official capacity can be challenged under civil rights law."

But Apex's policy mimics the federal government's health plan, which is prohibited by law to use funds to pay for its employees' abortions except in the case of rape or incest, or if the mother's life is endangered.

And because the town is self-insured, the state Department of Insurance doesn't regulate Apex's healthcare coverage, said department spokeswoman Kristin Milam.

"I just don't think our taxpayers should be subsidizing that," Councilman Mike Jones said. "There are options for abortions other than using town-sponsored insurance. ... There's cost, sure, but the underlying issue for me is the moral issue of abortion."

The town's decision to follow the federal example has caused others to examine the rights of cities and towns in North Carolina to pick and choose when it comes to their individual policies.

Tony Gurley of the Wake County Board of Commissioners said he plans to raise the issue of abortion coverage at the county level at an upcoming board meeting.

And the North Carolina League of Municipalities is looking into the issue, according to Kim Hibbard, general counsel for the nonpartisan association of state municipalities.

http://www.carynews.com/news/story/15831.html

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

where's a link?

Is there a link to this story?

Recent background

Indyweek discussed this recently, and Paul Stam's fingerprints are all over it:

Weatherly, who worked for strident choice foe Jesse Helms years ago, now is an assistant to N.C. House Minority Leader Paul Stam, R-Wake, an opponent of abortion rights throughout his career.

Stam's role in the Apex and Wake County maneuvers isn't clear. He refused to be interviewed by the Indy.

But it's not his personal views about abortion that caused him to put the issue on the agenda, Gurley says. It was the "fact," which he insists is "settled law," that the N.C. Supreme Court decision in the 1981 case of Stam v. State bars the counties and municipalities from funding abortions. "We have no choice," he says. "This is a slam-dunk case."

(Yes, it's the same Paul Stam. He was the plaintiff in a case against a Wake County program that subsidized indigent women choosing abortions. The state's highest court rejected his view that an unborn fetus was a "person" entitled to constitutional protections. But he won a judgment that the county had no legal authority to "fund medically unnecessary abortions.")

And here's (partly) an answer to your question:

Sharon Scudder, executive counsel for the N.C. Association of County Commissioners, said her group is looking at the issue but has not advised its members about it, only alerting them that it may be coming their way.

The N.C. League of Municipalities has no position either, said Kelli Kukura, director of government affairs. Kukura said the issue will be discussed at an upcoming meeting of the league's insurance board.

Great Idea!

There will be many close races this year in the NC House and Senate. This issue will put the Democrats over the top in every race. Each Democratic candidate for House and Senate should call for strikes by these municipal workers. It will play big in downeast places with which I am familiar. Towns like Snow Hill, Pink Hill, Deep Run, Grifton, Ayden and other small towns. A Democratic candidate pushing for abortion coverage in these small towns is sure to carry the vote. This idea needs to be spread across the state and adopted as a major campaign plank for each Democratic candidate!

Municipal workers don't have the right to strike

And I don't see too many Democratic candidates for state offices who are going to want to stake out their entire campaign on what is essentially a local issue. I'll be curious to see if Stam gets up enough momentum to go after the State Health Plan, which does provide for abortion coverage, instead of just picking on the little towns and counties.

The vote, combined with what you're saying

Reasonably Honest, it is about the vote in addition to what you are saying with regard to municipal workers. This is not something that gets "heat" with the populist and voters. Time to ratchet up the rhetoric on it and get women voters involved. Men are the ones that take this issue over, for whatever reason. No Way cutting the "choice" of women's rights with regard to insurance/medical care is something that should become political with men making that determination. I am a man and know in my heart it is about women's rights and choices and if prescribing Viagra and adding in coverage for quitting smoking and covering drug addition is acceptable, why in the hell is CHOICE about reproductive rights not covered? Just absolutely escapes me.

Who made the choice

for Apex that got this ball rolling:

Can someone help a foreigner understand this?

I find all of this kinda confusing. Firstly in the interest of transparency i must tell you that i am not pro choice. I do not believe abortion is right and i disagree with it. However i also do not have a womb. I also dont believe that i have a right to dictate the life and morals of others in particular to choices they make that are legal. If the law of the land says this is a legal right of a woman then any level of govt should not be able to circumnavigate the law to prevent this due to them having a different opinion. What I am having trouble understanding is how is this in any way legal? I can understand challenging the law that allows abortion. I do not however understand how a town council can arbitrarily remove insurance provisions to something which is a legal right?!?! Does this mean if a bunch of Jehovah's witnesses get elected to a town council then they can remove the right to blood transfusions being paid for if they disagree with it? As much as i love the United States i sometimes do miss the common sense simplicity of Scotland :)

Precisely

You understand perfectly.

Does this mean if a bunch of Jehovah's witnesses get elected to a town council then they can remove the right to blood transfusions being paid for if they disagree with it?

If a bunch of Muslims get elected, they could ban paying for the use of pig valves in heart surgery.

You see where this goes.

 

Well i am Muslim and no sane

Well i am Muslim and no sane muslim would actually call for a ban on paying for pig valves. Contrary to popular opinion Islam is pretty rational about things like that. Its the Muslims who act irrationally :)

Quit being so reasonable

You're using the word "sane"

Sanity does not apply to those who wish to impose their religion on others.

It doesn't matter if it's an Abramahic religion or Zoroastrianism.

Will we let orthodox Wiccans ban payment for tree cutting in towns?

 

Well i wish i had known that

Well i wish i had known that Muslims are a monolithic block that act and think in unison. ;)

Contrary to myth and popular stereotype and following the tenets of my faith i can quite candidly say that i couldn't care less whether you believe in God or not. There is nothing in my faith that says i should impose my faith on you, neither do i have a desire to. On the contrary i would happily believe in an even stricter separation of church and state.

But they go together so well

Monolith and Monotheism

Well...even some Hindus can get out of hand too.

Freakin' orthodox polytheists.

As long as I can get a good steak when I want it...

Now if we're talkin' about forcing vinegar-based barbecue sauce on the pork of the Old North State, that my friends is heresy. Heresy!

I will not allow my tax dollars to pay for it!

 

Why are we having this

Why are we having this conversation username :)