Livingston Co. board removes elective abortions from insurance

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HOWELL, Mich. (WLNS) — The Livingston County Board of Commissioners voted to end insurance coverage of elective abortions for certain county employees Monday.

The measure, which would end coverage for abortions that are not medically necessary, was passed 7-2. The change will go into effect no later than January 1, 2020, which is the beginning of the next fiscal year for the county.

Only non-union employees are affected.

According to the Michigan Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act, elective abortions are defined as:

” “Elective abortion” means the intentional use of an instrument, drug, or other substance or device to terminate a woman’s pregnancy for a purpose other than to increase the probability of a live birth, to preserve the life or health of the child after live birth, or to remove a fetus that has died as a result of natural causes, accidental trauma, or a criminal assault on the pregnant woman. Elective abortion does not include any of the following:

(i) The use or prescription of a drug or device intended as a contraceptive.

(ii) The intentional use of an instrument, drug, or other substance or device by a physician to terminate a woman’s pregnancy if the woman’s physical condition, in the physician’s reasonable medical judgment, necessitates the termination of the woman’s pregnancy to avert her death.

(iii) Treatment upon a pregnant woman who is experiencing a miscarriage or has been diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy.”

Several county board members said they were concerned about taxpayer dollars funding abortions, especially money from people who do not support abortion.

Roughly 50 people spoke during public comment at the beginning of the meeting. Some expressed that very sentiment.

“My issue is taxpayer dollars. I’m not trying to deny your right to have an abortion. I’m just saying, as a taxpayer, I do not want my money to go for that service. So simple as that,” one woman said.

However, many people spoke in opposition of the measure, saying it would violate a woman’s right to choose.

Prior to the meeting, a protest was held, where 26 people marched in front of the Livingston County Administration Building to protest the resolution.

Kacey Helton, one of the protesters, said she expects the resolution to be challenged in one way or another.

“We will challenge it by letting everyone, all of our friends, all of our allies, know exactly what county commissioners voted for this resolution and which didn’t,” she said. “A lot of people I found when I ran for county commission don’t understand what a county commissioner does, but they do understand politicians who don’t support choice. And we will make sure come election season everyone knows who they are.”

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