Student Health Insurance and Abortion Coverage

Pro-life students in the University of North Carolina system will now be allowed to “opt out of abortion coverage” in their student health insurance plans. According to an article by Eric Ferreri in the Raleigh News & Observer:

Though the [health] plan covers the procedure, UNC system officials said Thursday that it can be removed from student plans on request. The decision followed complaints from followers of a national anti-abortion organization that didn’t want students forced to fund them.

“No student will be required to have this coverage as part of their health care plan, nor will they be paying for anybody else,” UNC President Erskine Bowles said Thursday.

Bowles made this announcement after the North Carolina public university system’s Board of Governors received e-mails about abortion coverage from Students for Life of America, a college anti-abortion group.

This announcement is essentially meaningless. There’s no need for a pro-life woman to demand that her own health care plan not to cover an abortion, since she would never have one. There’s no need to “opt out” of coverage for an elective procedure one never plans to have.

Likewise, despite Bowles’s reassurance, students in the UNC healthcare system are still ultimately paying for abortions. The very nature of health insurance means that the insured pay for health procedures undertaken by anyone else with same insurance provider.

Try again, UNC.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer