|BOP Medical Benefits Plan covers late-term abortions|
A value is required. The 2006 GA statement on late-term abortion of viable babies has had no effect. All abortion claims continue to be covered by the Medical Benefits Plan of the Board of Pensions throughout a pregnancy.
We affirm that the lives of viable unborn babies—those well-developed enough to survive outside the womb if delivered—ought to be preserved and cared for and not aborted. In cases where problems of life or health of the mother arise in a pregnancy, the church supports efforts to protect the life and health of both the mother and the baby. When late-term pregnancies must be terminated, we urge decisions intended to deliver the baby alive. We look to our churches to provide pastoral and tangible support to women in problem pregnancies and to surround these families with a community of care. We affirm adoption as a provision for women who deliver children they are not able to care for, and ask our churches to assist in seeking loving, Christian, adoptive families.
On June 20 of 2007 PPL’s Executive Director, Marie Bowen communicated by email with Margaret Mellen, Senior Vice President in the Benefits Department of the Board of Pensions and asked the following question:
As a pro-life Presbyterian, I am wondering whether the Board of Pensions has made a change in its coverage of abortion to reflect the restraint expressed in this General Assembly action regarding late-term abortions?
Mellen’s answer was prompt and unambiguous:
The General Assembly made clear in its 1988 statement on Commissioner’s Resolution 41-88 On Board of Pensions Coverage of Abortions that “in no way is the Board of Pensions expected to police the use of this policy.” The subsequent General Assembly actions have laid out guidelines for those facing such difficult decisions and choices but the final decision is still left to the individual. As a result, the Medical Plan continues to pay for any legal abortion-related expense that is submitted without inquiry of the patient or provider as to the reason for the service.
Commissioner’s Resolution 41-88 was a request from two Scioto Valley Presbytery commissioners that the BOP coverage for abortions reflect the restraint in the 1992 policy which says that “abortion should not be used as a method of birth control” or elected “to ease embarrassment”. It asked the 1988 General Assembly “to instruct the Board of Pensions to publish a policy that coverage is not intended to pay for “abortions of convenience” or abortions “for birth control.” The 1988 GA did not concur with the resolution but instead adopted a statement that directed the Board of Pensions:
...to publish that its policies agree with the General Assembly policy that abortions should not be “elected only as a convenience or to ease embarrassment” and that “abortions should not be used as a method of birth control.” In no way is the Board of Pensions expected to police the use of this policy.
Bowen followed up with three additional questions. Answers were given within the week as follows: