Apex takes cue from Stupak

The Apex Town Council unanimously decided to eliminate insurance coverage for abortion from all town employees’ Blue Cross Blue Shield benefit plans. The change went into effect yesterday.

If you’ve been paying attention to any discussion around Health Care Reform at the federal level recently (see Choice 2.0 blog), you won’t be surprised to learn that media coverage and comments from public officials have made it painfully clear that this is about far more than what benefits are or are not in a particular health insurance plan.

The politicization of women’s personal reproductive lives definitely didn’t stop with Stupak and now we have found it at our own back door.

Media coverage of the issue thus far points very directly to the problems. WRAL’s sensationalized coverage could have you thinking the Apex employee’s health insurance plan was covering illegal drug use rather than a safe and legal medial procedure. Meanwhile, the story in the Cary News (http://www.carynews.com/front/story/15838.html) quotes Councilman Mike Jones saying very candidly that the underlying issue for him is the moral issue of abortion. (emphasis mine)

I’m not sure at what point our society decided that it was okay for one elected official’s moral beliefs to be the deciding factor in what an entire group of people (*ahem* women) can or cannot have access to. What’s next? Fertility treatment? Birth control? How about (as Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht said so astutely) erectile dysfunction medication and vasectomy coverage?

The fact is that elected officials shouldn’t be able to cherry pick what reproductive health care coverage they’re okay with and what they’re not and force those decisions and the beliefs that motivated them on everyone else. Abortion care is basic reproductive health care for women and 87% of insurance plans currently cover abortion care. The reason for this is simple (allow me to repeat): Abortion is a safe and legal medical procedure. In fact, it is a procedure that one out of every three women will experience in her lifetime.

Unfortunately, politically motivated single-issue attacks like this one have a tendency to snowball and it’s looking like Wake County employees’ benefits could be up next on the chopping block when the County Commissioners meet later in the month. We know you’ll want to help so plans are in the making! Stay tuned to facebook.com/ppcnc and twitter.com/ppcnc to find out how you can be part of the campaign to protect women’s health in your community!


There must be something in the water in Apex

First it's a proving ground for mercenaries, and now this? Seems like a public employees strike might be in order.

Great post. Sad news.

I wonder how many other cities and towns in North Carolina are in for the same train wreck?

Race, sexuality and reproductive rights

It is so sad that these three issues divide our country so greatly. Sad, indeed.

But, on the issue of Choice. Um, is it not legal for a woman to choose to abort an unborn child? There are many things legal (and illegal, for that matter) that I disagree with, but there is no way I believe that society has the right to just go against the legality or, more importantly, the rights instituted by law.

Is this what we are going to see happening all around our great country if the republicans are able to once again get hold of our political system?

Some of this stuff is enough to make a grown man cry.

it's about the babies

What is sad is that some people actually defend the "choice" of killing an innocent baby, whose life happens to inconvenience someone. What person with a beating heart could support such a monstrous act?

I'm thankful that the Apex Town Council has taken the step of reducing the financial incentive to kill babies.

God's on your side.

God's on your side.

And you know better than anyone else what the big guy thinks, right? You need to read your Bible more closely.

It's about individual choice


Let me see if I get you right:

-You also feel that the homosexual lifestyle is against "God's law" and is an abomination.

-You also feel that our country has gone too far in making sure people of all color and backgrounds an heritage, etc. are treated equally.

-You believe that there is only one true religion and that people that choose to believe differently than you are sinners.

You are on the wrong blog.

what about the babies?

You're wrong (and off-topic, and prejudiced).

The topic is killing babies, and whether to encourage & subsidize such killing through health insurance. I truly do not understand how anyone with a heart could support such an awful thing.

Then I imagine you're not satisfied

The Apex Town Council provided that abortions are still covered in cases of rape and incest.

Why not direct your anger at the Apex Town Council?

They haven't gone far enough, have they?

All sperms that implant an egg must be brought to term!

Keep pregnant women in hospitals 24/7 to end all stillbirths!

Why didn't the Apex Town Council ask for an insurance change to provide for protecting potential stillborns?

Why are you so cruel?



I am off topic? YOU brought up the topic of choice.

Prejudiced? LOVE to see you 'splain that one.

You're so funny.

This discussion is going abso-freaking-lutely nowhere :)

You want to talk about anything except babies

You want to talk about race (you accuse me of being racist, a charge stemming entirely from prejudice), or homosexuality, or God, or Viagra, or probably anything at all -- except the babies.

I truly don't understand how anyone with a heart cannot care about what happens to the babies... and to their families.

Hear my story.

Years ago, I got a call from a woman whose heart was broken.

(I think it was about 1996 or 1997, or maybe 1998. Sorry, I don't remember the exact year, but, at the time, there was a hurricane loitering off the NC shore, and -- in keeping with NC tradition -- the grocery stores were selling out of bottled water and bread and flashlight batteries.)

The woman didn't know me, but she got my number, and she called me, because she just needed someone to talk to. She purposely sought out a stranger. (I do a lot of volunteer work, which is how she found me.)

She cried and cried and cried.

She told me that a few years earlier she had gotten pregnant, and had an abortion. She'd told nobody: not her family, not her pastor, not her friends, nobody at all. Then she shut out the memory and went on with her life.

She did fine for a few years. But when she'd had her abortion, there'd been a hurricane threatening the NC coast, and all the grocery stores had been selling out of bottled water and bread and flashlight batteries. And now, years later, she'd walked into a grocery store, and seen all the people buying bottled water and bread and flashlight batteries, and the memories came flooding back, and she just fell apart.

She told me that she was a Christian, and a regular churchgoer, so I suggested that she talk to her pastor. But she said she couldn't bring herself to do that, because she couldn't bear the thought of what he would think of her if he knew her secret. I told her that she was obviously repentant, and that God forgives her, and she said she already knew that, but she told me that she couldn't forgive herself.

And she cried some more.

She desperately regretted her decision, but it was several years too late. Making it even worse, she was now approaching 40, and still single, and she realized that the baby she'd aborted was probably the only one she would ever have.

I didn't know what to do for her, except listen. I recommended some counseling services who might be able to help her. But I've never had any training in counseling, myself, so I felt way out of my depth.

I've often wondered what happened to her. I've never spoken with her again. I didn't ask her name, and she didn't tell me. (A name and number came up on caller ID, but, out of respect for her privacy, I didn't write them down.)

Of all the people I've only spoken with one time and never met, that brokenhearted lady is the one I recall most vividly, and remember most often. I hope she found the help she needed.

So, if you don't care about the babies (which I truly can't understand), can you at least care about their parents? Can you find it in your heart to care about women like the one who called me?

You're the one that doesn't want to protect potential stillborns

So, if you don't care about the babies (which I truly can't understand),

Why don't you make it madatory for all pregnant women to be in a hospital while they are pregnant?

Why do you hate stillborns?

Run a health insurance amendment for that if you care so much about other people's eggs.


I am reluctant to respond to that, but will

That was a very sad experience for you and yes, for the woman you told us about here. I am not hardhearted nor are those that are on the Choice side of the abortion issue. In fact, a lot of the reason for their belief and feelings on this issue are because they are such caring people.

You have to know that there are many, many stories like yours only on the other side of that equation. I read one a few years ago when I was unsure about this issue. It was about a woman that was destitute with her husband running off with another woman leaving her living in the streets, pregnant. She had no insurance but knew she could not raise a newborn as he/she should be raised. She wanted to abort in the early stages of the pregnancy, but could not. That child was raised in and out of crack houses and was molested and ended up in first juevenile lockups then to jail. The woman died of an overdose and the child, well, he had no chance at life.

Yes, she could have been a better parent somehow. And yes, there are organizations out there that help women like her. She chose the wrong path and that child suffered.

I do not know you but I suspect your beliefs in this come from your religious beliefs and, of course, your good heart. But, to every story, there is a counter story when it comes to this issue.


That is, indeed, a terrible story. But there are better solutions than abortion.

Are you familiar with NC's "safe surrender" law?

How about Christian Life Home (and similar charities)?

Truly, there's no need for the child to die. If any woman is in such a situation, there are many generous people who would love to help her and her baby, myself included.

Sometimes the mom just needs help exercising her legal rights. The father cannot legally just "run off" and leave his children unsupported. He's obligated to support them, and the courts are there to enforce that obligation. (I realize that it doesn't work in all cases.)

Vasectomy and Viagra amendments

Whenever some fool proposes this amendment to women's health coverage, someone should propose amendments stripping male health coverage.

No taxpayer dollars for Viagra or vasectomies or wasteful prostate screenings!

If women's health coverage takes a hit, then so should men's coverage.



No taxpayer dollars for Viagra


Don't you know the "morality police" battle cry?

It's taxpayer dollars! They wail - as they urge health insurance plans offered by municipal governements to exclude coverage for women.

Well, how adding some more coverage exclusions on a gender-equal basis?

Is Viagra covered in the local government plan? Amend it out. It's a moral outrage to use taxpayer dollars for penile problems.

If it's good for the goose...


I see

Yeah, I see your point...but DAMN :).

you don't have to have one

Please feel free to choose not to have an abortion. I totally respect your right not to have one. However, for you make that decision for another person is not your place. Your righteousness is misguided. You think you value life, but you you're lack compassion and hatred for other humans beings who don't share your beliefs is what you actually value. Control is what you value. Don't fool yourself, because you're not fooling the rest of us.

the "other person"

Sanity, you say "for you [to] make that decision for another person is not your place." But the other person affected by an abortion is the baby.

Parents have the legal and moral right to make many decisions for their children, but parents should not have the right to end their children's lives. (The old Roman pater familias had that right, but it was rarely exercised, even in that barbaric age.)

Please don't encourage people to kill innocent babies.

Let's talk about babies

A baby is not equivalent to a fetus. Never has been, never will be.

Because in the moment of them becoming equivalent, you and your paternalistic god are faced with the requirement to put women who have abortions in prison for life or to execute them for murder.

Is that what you are in favor of? Killing women if they have an abortion, which you consider to be premeditated murder?

Is that your plan?

Samuel Armas

That's a picture of Samuel Armas's hand, at 21 weeks (19 weeks from conception), reaching out of his mother's womb. He is undergoing surgery for spina bifida. (It is disputed whether Samuel awoke from anesthesia prematurely and slipped his arm out of the womb on his own, or whether the surgeon pulled his arm out.)

The other hands in the photo are those of the surgeon, Dr. Joseph Bruner.

The famous photo is by Michael Clancy:

Samuel is 10 years old, now. Here's a more recent picture of him:

(He's whitewater rafting on the Colorado River!)


Now imagine he's a black child of a single-parent with no health insurance.

He's dead already.

No, he's not

Rubbish. I regularly work with black children in a subsidized Raleigh housing complex. (Volunteer work, I mean -- my day job is computer work.) Most of those kids are being raised by single moms with no health insurance. (Some of them are being raised by mom and grandma.) Many of those kids are doing fine, and none of them should ever be written off.

However, I have to admit that the kids with dads at home generally do better than the ones with absentee dads. There are a few married couples in that neighborhood, and you really can tell the difference in the kids.

So who pays for the surgery

of the black child whose parents have no insurance? Who pays for the same fetal surgery that Samuel got?

Do taxpayers pay?

Are you in favor of raising taxes to whatever level necessary to pay for government healthcare that will provide whatever surgery is needed by anyone who asks for it? Would you be willing to pay half of your income in taxes to spread the safety net so that every single one of the babies has all the care and support that Samuel had? How about 75%? How about all your income? Would you pay that much if that's what it took to fund fetal surgery whenever it might be called for?

And once the babies are born, what about those who need medical care? Please tell me you're out on the streets working every day to convince all your friends and neighbors that the US needs to dramatically raises taxes so that all the babies have the same chance, and that none of them get left behind.

No, who pays for the abortions

The question the Apex Town Council answered was who pays for the abortions, not who pays for surgeries needed to heal someone. You've drifted off-topic again.

But I'll indulge you.

Fortunately, very few babies need Samuel's surgery.

That's fortunate for the babies, of course, but also for the taxpayers, because people who need expensive medical care in America and can't pay for it themselves get it through charity, much of which is ultimately paid by the taxpayers; e.g.,


You refuse at every turn to answer my questions, so I'll stop asking them.

I've tried to make BlueNC a forum for thoughtful discussion. You're doing a good job on the discussing part, not so much on the thoughtful part.

Go save some babies. You're wasting your time here.

you asked who pays for the surgeries

James, you asked who pays for expensive surgeries, and I answered.

You seem to be under the mistaken impression that poor people without insurance don't get expensive medical care, under the current system. It's not so. Please click the link I gave you, to clear up your confusion.

But we have drifted far afield from the original topic, which is unborn babies, and whether Apex's insurance should pay for elective abortions to kill them.

I say no! It is a horrible thing to kill an innocent child!

Samuel Armas says the same thing. Barely 10 years old, and he's turning into quite the little pro-life campaigner!

I've answered several of your questions, James. Now please answer one of mine.

Look at those two pictures of Samuel, taken about 10 years apart. Look at his left hand: the same hand, visible in both pictures. Now, answer me this: How can anyone with a heart say that child was valueless, or not a human being, or not worthy of protection, at either age? How can it be acceptable to let someone kill him, either at that age, or any other age, even 4 months later? How can killing a child like him not be considered a monstrous act by any civilized person? How can you justify that?

Right back at you, you raging hypocrite

Now please answer one of mine.

I've posed several questions about your endorsing protection of only certain embryos in the Apex Town insurance amendments.

Why do you get to decide to protect potential stillborn embryos less?

Why should taxpayers subsidize the formation of embryos with the insurance coverage of Viagra and similar penile-assisting agents for men?

Come on, hypocrite. Been waiting all day here.


I was talking to James

I was talking to James, not you, usernamehere. You're just being snarky.

It doesn't matter what you're interested in

Adults take responsibility for their actions.

Laws have consequences. Laws for and against abortion have consequences. This isn't some la-la land where you get to go around screwing up people's lives singing, "I just want to protect the babies," while ignoring the aftershocks of your agenda. Not around here anyway.

You are an adult, right? Your actions, should they be successful, would have real and practical impacts that would result in women all across America being turned into criminals for doing what they want with their own bodies.

The law in this area is settled, you want to change it ... but you don't want to consider the consequences of your actions?

As to your final point, why "him?" Let me guess. You're a man who knows more about what women should do with their lives and their pregnancies than they do.

Answer my question. In states where the death penalty applies, would you or would you not advocate applying that penalty to woman who have pre-mediated abortions.

This is a yes or no question.

your questions, James

The answer is no. I believe that abortion is always tragic, but many (perhaps most) women who have elective abortions don't really do so by "choice," in the sense that they would choose something that they want, like fondue or shoes. Rather, they have abortions because they feel like they have no other realistic choice. In many cases, they are pressured to do so, by boyfriends or others.

A woman in such a situation feels trapped. She may not understand her legal rights, such as the right to get child support from the father. She may not know about the charitable resources available to her. She doesn't "want" an abortion, except in the sense that an animal, caught in a steel trap, wants to gnaw its leg off, to escape.

As your other question you asked, "As to your final point, why 'him?' Let me guess..." Well, you guessed wrong. I wrote "him" because Samuel Armas is a boy.

If I'd been talking about Gianna Jessen I'd have said "her."

When the sex of the child is known to be male, one customarily says "he" and "him." Were the sex of the child known to be female, one would say "she" and "her."

Were the sex of the child unknown, one traditionally would use "he" and "him" as gender-neutral pronouns (look it up if you don't believe me), though some modern writers dislike that usage, and resort to formulations like "him or her," "s/he," etc.

Your answer is no.

Women would not be put to death or imprisoned for murder if they have abortions under your logic. I'm glad to hear that.

But I feel compelled to ask why not? You seem to think women are helpless victims under the influence of boyfriends or others, and are unable to make decisions for themselves.

What if there is not such influence? What if it's a flat-out premediated abortion by an independent woman who simply doesn't want to have a child? Under that scenario, what punishment would you like to see imposed? Would you like to see it labeled a misdemeanor with a fine? A felony with a prison sentence? A capital crime with the death sentence?

Why would you let a woman get away with murder of "the babies" when you surely wouldn't let that same women get away with killing her husband?

Why the difference?

Sorry, Dave


No, James, it is those who refuse to look at a baby and admit he is a baby who are in denial.

Like every baby his age, little Samuel was a real, living child at 19 weeks from conception, when his tiny fist grasped his surgeon's finger. He was a real, living child 10 years later, too, when that same fist grasped an oar. And he was a real, living child 5 weeks earlier, when his spina bifida was diagnosed via ultrasound.

He was not a "clump of cells," James. He was a baby, just as I was at that age, and just as you were. Every surgical or RU-486 abortion stops a living child's beating heart.

There are rare, tragic circumstances which justify killing an innocent child. But they are very rare, and very tragic.

James, you've been lied to by the liars who defend the indefensible. You fret about runaway costs, and overcrowded prisons, and "an army of unwanted children." You've even accepted the discredited Big Lie of pervasive "back-alley deaths" before elective abortion was legalized.

Perhaps you are too young to remember those days. But you are not too young to look up statistics.

I doubt you'll believe me, so look it up for yourself. Did we have more people in prison in 1970 (when elective abortion was illegal) than today? Did we execute women (or even abortionists) who committed the crime of abortion? Did we have more child abuse, or an army of unwanted children back then?

Do countries like Ireland, where abortion is still illegal, have worse problems of those types today than we have here in the USA?

I've got good news for you. The answer to all those questions is "NO!" In fact, most social maladies worsened after abortion was legalized. Child abuse, neglect, murder, all increased following the legalization of abortion.

That means we can protect our children from abortion without busting our budget or causing other social maladies.

BTW, although you haven't said so, I'm sure that some other folks here also believe that legalizing abortion didn't significantly increase the number of abortions, it just made them safe. Well, as you may know, that's a lie, too. In fact, in 1973, the first year abortions were legal in all 50 States, there were less than 750,000 abortions in the USA. The rate increased gradually over the next 8 years, before leveling off in the 1980s. The rate didn't exceed 1 million until 1975 (according to Guttmacher) or 1977 (according to the CDC). The U.S. abortion rate peaked at more than 1.6 million, and then began its more recent decline. The reason that abortion rates more than doubled in the decade following legalization is that legality led to social acceptability, and abortion gradually supplanted other forms of birth control.

I'll bet you didn't know that. But the statistics prove it. Following legalization, there was a sudden dip in the birth rate, as you might expect, because of the sudden increase in abortions. But then the birth rate recovered, even as the abortion rate went steadily up. In fact, for five consecutive years, both the abortion rate and the birth rate went up, simultaneously.

So you don't need to worry about American being overrun with unwanted children if we reduce or end elective abortions. It won't happen, it won't bust our social welfare budgets, and in the long term it won't even greatly affect the number of babies who are born alive.

But the bottom line isn't money. It is the humanity of the babies. I've answered several of your questions, James. Why won't you answer my one question (which I've phrased several ways)?

Look at those 2 pictures of Samuel, taken ~10 years apart. Look at his left hand: the same hand, visible in both pictures, and answer me this: How can anyone with a heart say he was valueless, or not a human being, or unworthy of protection, at either age? How can you support letting someone kill him, either at that age, or any other age, even 4 months later? How can you fail to know that killing a child like him is a horrible, monstrous act? How can any civilized person justify such a thing?

How someone with a beating heart can advocate providing insurance coverage to encourage elective abortions is beyond my comprehension.

You still didn't answer my question

I asked you a very specific question about the criminal penalties that should be applied when the murder victim is a nine day old fetus versus a nine month old child.

If you can make a compelling case as to why there should be a difference in penalties and I'll be happy to indulge your happy talk. Otherwise, there's no need to continue this conversation.


Let us change the tone a little

James, it might be time for a little levity. I think you are just about old enough to really enjoy this. It is really well done.

Nope, it is not "political", but this discussion needs to take a break. I mean, Dave is making all the same old, same old arguments we have all heard like FOREVER. I doubt anyone will have their mind changed here.

Sorry if this is "out of place" :)

I agree


reality, please

All right, James, you win.

First, note that there are no abortions of 9 day old fetuses. A mom doesn't even know she's pregnant by then. Most abortions are at 8-12 weeks (6-10 weeks from conception), and some are much later than that. Gianna was aborted at 7-1/2 months.

But perhaps you meant 9 weeks, rather than 9 days. That's a typical age for an abortion.

So, in answer to your question, I cannot think of any reason at all for a 9 week unborn child to lack legal protection, when a 9 month old child has it. I think they should both be protected. It is you who believes that the younger one is not worth protecting.

As for what punishments to mete out for the crime of abortion, when elective abortion is again made illegal, frankly, I'm not very concerned about the precise penalties, so long as it deters or otherwise prevents the crime. But you asked specifically about prison and capital punishment. So I'll answer.

The primary interest of society, and thus the primary purpose of prison and capital punishment, is to prevent future crimes. So the right question to ask is how best to stop this particular crime.

The answer is that we should stop the abortionists from performing elective abortions. If abortionists don't perform abortions, the babies will not be killed. It is far more efficient to go after the (few) abortionists than their (more numerous) customers.

So I'd prefer the more efficient solution. (I do recall that Sen. Paul Tsongas quipped, “If anyone thinks the words ‘government’ and ‘efficiency’ belong in the same sentence, we have counseling available,” which is about right, but we should nevertheless strive for as much efficiency as we can manage.)

Someone also asked about rape cases. Should we offer legal protection for the vast majority of unborn babies from elective abortion, but not for the unfortunate few who are conceived by rape? After all, it isn't the baby's fault if his father is a rapist. Right?

Right. But the difference is that if the baby is conceived by rape, then it is not his mother's fault that she is pregnant. For that sole reason, I would reluctantly allow abortion in those cases, for legal consistency with similar situations.

Under the law, generally you are not responsible for the care and protection of someone whose situation is no fault of your own.

For instance, if a shivering person comes to your door seeking shelter on a frigid night, and you turn him away, and he freezes to death, you are morally wrong, but you have committed no crime (unless he's your own child, or you are the guy who stole his winter coat).

Similarly, if you see someone fall into the river, and hear him scream for help, you are not legally obligated to rescue him, even if you are capable of doing so. You needn't even have a good excuse for refusing. Maybe you're late for an appointment, or maybe you just don't want to get your suit wet. If you are not to blame for his peril, you have the legal right to ignore it. If you let him drown, you are morally wrong, but you will have committed no crime (unless you pushed him in).

Here's an even worse scenario. Suppose you're in the bone marrow registry (like me), and you get "the call." You are the only match for a cancer patient, who needs a transplant. You agree to donate. The cancer patient gets a big dose of chemo & radiation, which wipes out his own marrow. Now it is time for you to donate your marrow sample, but you find out the patient is a Republican, and you change your mind. By refusing to donate your marrow, you doom the patient. You have committed an unspeakable act, yet, believe it or not, it is my understanding that you have committed no crime, under the law. (I think this should be a crime, BTW.)

Now, none of those situations require the amount of sacrifice which is required of a mother to carry a baby for seven more months. So how can we legally require her to carry her baby to term, if she is not in any way responsible for her pregnancy?

It would be inconsistent to legally require her to do so, and not require other people to rescue drowning strangers from the river or give them shelter from the cold. Morally, we should do all those good things, but legally we are not required to do so.

Alright, James, now it is your turn. Here's my question again:

Look at little Samuel's left hand in those two pictures.

At 21 weeks (~19 weeks after conception), August 19, 1999:

Same hand, 10 years later, at age 9-1/2 (last summer):

In one picture he's grasping a surgeon's finger. In the other he's grasping an oar. How can anyone say he's valueless, or not a human being, or unworthy of protection in the first picture, and precious in the second?

How can you support letting someone kill him, either at that age, or any other age, even 4 months later? How can you fail to know that killing a child like him is a horrible, monstrous act? How can any civilized person justify such a thing?

You've dodged again

skirting the core issue I've asked about three times. I'm done with this conversation.

Why are you so cruel?

How can you support letting someone kill him, either at that age, or any other age...
How someone with a beating heart can advocate providing insurance coverage to encourage elective abortions is beyond my comprehension.

Then why do you submit to the Apex municipal governement allowing abortion in cases of rape and incest?

Why won't you fight just as hard to subjugate, or protect, women during their entire pregnancy to protect from possible stillbirths?

Why do you riddle yourself with logical inconsistencies?