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North Carolina students can now reject abortion coverage

Public university students enrolled in a new UNC system health insurance plan can opt out of abortion coverage.

Though the 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.

Students who choose not to have the abortion coverage won’t save any money. The coverage wasn’t a factor in the cost of the health care premiums, which are about $350 to $375 per semester, depending on the campus.

“It has no effect on the cost whatsoever,” Bowles said. “It didn’t before; it won’t now.”

Bowles’ decision came after he and members of the UNC system’s Board of Governors received e-mail pleas that were prompted by Students for Life of America, a national organization with affiliates at UNC-Chapel Hill, N.C. State, UNC Charlotte and other universities across the state.

“I think the opt-out [option] is a step in the right direction, but it’s not a solution,” said Kristan Hawkins, the national organization’s executive director. “I don’t want anyone to have abortion coverage. Abortion is not quality health care.”

Read the full story at the Raleigh News & Observer.

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