Friday, February 16, 2001

Abortion coverage targeted in Delhi

Employee health plan covers it

By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        DELHI TOWNSHIP — Two township trustees want to eliminate abortions as a procedure covered by their employees' health insurance.

        By a 2-1 vote vote Tuesday night, trustees directed the law department to examine the abortion clause and prepare a resolution to delete it.

        Trustee Ann Langdon said she discovered the clause as she prepared to put her family on the insurance plan.

        “None of the trustees knew the insurance covered abortion. It is not something that sticks out in the policy,” Mrs. Langdon said. “I was shocked to know that we were paying to cover it. I think this is the wrong thing for Delhi Township to be doing.”

        She said she considered most of Delhi Township anti-abortion and said some residents were upset when they learned of the coverage.

        Mrs. Langdon and Trustee Carol Espelage voted for the motion. Trustee Nicholas LaScalea voted against it.

        “I don't think this has anything to do with being pro-life or pro-choice,” Mr. La- Scalea said. “We have a contractual obligation with Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield to pay for a policy that happens to cover elected surgeries, which include abortion. I doubt if it has ever been used.”

        Mr. LaScalea said it wouldn't make any difference in the premium cost.

        “Our contract with An them expires in August. Why not just wait and delete it then? By going to them now, we may be interfering with an employee's plan who may have this in mind. Whether they have an abortion or not is a personal thing.”

Privileged information

        Joseph Morency, township administrator, said that if a resolution is approved to delete the abortion clause, it will be done at the March trustees meeting.

        Mr. Morency said there is no way to know whether any one of the 69 employees or their families has used the insurance for abortion, because that is privileged information.

        Hal Franke of the 6300 block of Rapid Run Drive, thinks such coverage has no place in an insurance police covering public employees.

        “To use taxpayers' money to pay for abortion is the most egregious destruction of mankind in the course of human history,” Mr. Franke said. “It degrades all of us and makes us more tolerant of abuse against each other.”

        Hamilton County and Ohio employee health plans do not cover abortions.

        Townships have differing policies. In Anderson Township, abortion is covered in its United Health Care policy, but two trustees said that might not be wise.

        “I don't know whether it is appropriate to use taxpayers' money for abortion,” said Trustee Peggy Reis.

        Trustee Russ Jackson also questioned using tax money for items related to abortions or abortion clinics.

        “Most employees may not know it is in the policy,” Mr. Jackson said.

        Green Township's employee health plan also covers abortion. Colerain Township's does not.


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