UNC health plan upsets some

Abortion opt-out still in place

Concerns from students about the abortion benefit in the UNC-system health insurance plan might go unaddressed by the state government.

As part of advocacy efforts to remove the abortion benefit in the student insurance plan, members of Students for Life of America wrote a letter to Gov. Bev Perdue in August after being dissatisfied with system President Erskine Bowles’ response.

Bowles changed the abortion benefit to an optional instead of a default provision after receiving several e-mails from students and parents.

Students for Life of America received a response on Sept. 10 from Perdue but waited a week to make the announcement public, said Kristan Hawkins, executive director for Students for Life of America.

In a two-paragraph letter, Perdue only thanked the organization for its civic engagement without further addressing the issue.

“We are pretty disappointed in the way the governor responded,” Hawkins said.

“We had written this serious letter asking her to address this serious matter, and in return, we got a brush-off.”

Perdue’s response makes it seem like the issue is not important to her, Hawkins said.

“To parents and students, it’s an important question,” she said.

Some student groups agree with this stance.

“It would have been nice to see any sort of concerned response,” said Chase McDonough, a UNC student and a member of Carolina Students for Life.

The campus organization is not a subsidiary of Students for Life of America.

Perdue should have at least engaged in debate, he said.

“It would have been really nice to have a response to our concerns instead of her thanking us,” McDonough said.

“It’s a cold-hearted response.”

The ideal response would have been Perdue putting the system in its place and calling for the removal of the abortion benefit altogether, McDonough said.

But others believe that by making the benefit optional for students, the system has already dealt with the issue.

“Her response was absolutely appropriate,” said Lee Storrow, UNC student and member of VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood.

“In my mind, this issue is over,” he said. “We have a compromise that works for everyone.”

Contact the State & National Editor at stntdesk@unc.edu.

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