Proposal Advances To Remove Abortion Coverage From County Plans

A proposal by a Livingston County commissioner to have the county’s insurance policy exclude abortion coverage for non-union employees is moving forward.

The resolution by Commissioner Wes Nakagiri seeks to eliminate coverage for non-union employees and direct those bargaining for the county with unionized employee groups to negotiate for elimination of such coverage, with a goal that it would take effect no later than the start of the new fiscal year in January.

The proposal was introduced and passed at the August 14th meeting of the Personnel Committee. On Wednesday morning it passed 6-2 from the county’s Finance Committee, with Commissioners Bezotte, Green, Griffith, Helzerman, Lawrence and Nakagiri voting in favor. Commissioners Gary Childs and Dennis Dolan were the two votes against it, while Commission Chairman Don Parker left the meeting prior to the vote, but indicated he was in favor of the plan.

Childs, who is Catholic, said while he holds life sacred, it was unfair in his opinion to take the right to abortion coverage away from some county employees and not others. “We hear complaints from conservatives about government overreach and now we are reaching into the family and making decisions for them.”

Former Commissioner Dave Domas was one of five people who spoke to the board in favor of the plan. Calling Childs a “so-called Catholic,” Domas added that he would pray for Childs to have a change of heart. Brighton businessman John Conely also spoke in favor of the proposal, saying taxpayers should not pay for “abortions for birth control.”

Seven members of the public spoke against the plan, raising concerns about the lack of financial analysis on whether it could potentially cost the county more money and if it opened the door for the county refusing to pay for other services such as vaccinations and blood transfusions based on moral oppositions by some.

The proposal will now come before the county’s regular meeting on Monday at 7:30pm, where it is expected to pass based on Wednesday’s vote tally. However, several commissioners requested the resolution be reviewed by the county’s general counsel prior to Monday’s meeting, which might delay a vote if it isn’t ready in time. (JK)

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