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Mayor Cooper Calls For New Measures to Support Women’s Health Care for Metro Employees

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Jul 05, 2022 - 03:04 AM

Nashville Mayor John Cooper and Council Members Burkley Allen, Delishia Porterfield and Erin Evans called for a new initiative that will continue protecting women’s health care for all Metro Nashville employees, which totals well over 15,000 Middle Tennessee residents. The Mayor and Council Members will formally request the Metro Employee Benefit Board to extend health coverage for Metro employees to include reimbursement to obtain medical procedures unavailable in Tennessee. The benefit would include transportation, accommodations, and related costs. Council Members Allen, Porterfield and Evans will sponsor a resolution for Council to consider codifying this request.

“Last week the Supreme Court overturned 50 years of precedent and took away a fundamental right for millions of people across the country, including hundreds of thousands right here in Nashville,” said Mayor John Cooper. “While our options to protect the right to choose in Nashville are limited by current law, we must do everything we can to continue providing access to health care and safe, affordable care for those who need it. I’m proud to be advocating for all Metro employees to have this essential benefit.”

“There is nothing more important for every Nashvillian than access to good, quality health care, and it’s our job as city leaders to support and protect the rights of everyone to afford and access that care,” said Council Member Burkley Allen. “That’s why I’m partnering with Mayor Cooper and my colleagues today in calling on the Metro Employee Benefit Board to ensure the women serving our community have the resources necessary to access reproductive care when they need it.”

The resolution to be filed with the Metro Council calls for the Metro Employee Benefit Board to first assess the current availability of benefits providing transportation, accommodation, and related costs when necessary to obtain medical treatment unavailable in Tennessee. It further requests that in the event that medical benefits do not include coverage for costs of obtaining reproductive healthcare medical treatment unavailable in Tennessee, that such coverage be extended by the Metropolitan Employee Benefit Board.

“I applaud Mayor Cooper and the leadership in Nashville for stepping up to protect the fundamental rights of Metro employees,” said Francie Hunt, Executive Director of Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood. “I hope today’s announcement will serve as inspiration for other local leaders across the state to follow suit and fight back against the outrageous injustice imposed on millions of women across Tennessee.”

“We are really excited about Mayor Cooper’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of Metro Nashville employees,” said Jennifer Pepper, President and CEO, CHOICES. “CHOICES looks forward to being able to provide critical access to women’s health services for those traveling from the Metro Nashville area to providers like CHOICES Carbondale.”

“It’s vital that Nashville remain a welcoming space for everyone, and that city government do everything in our power to advance reproductive freedom,” said Council Member Delishia Porterfield. “The Dobbs decision will disproportionally impact families from working-class and lower socio-economic backgrounds, and I’m grateful this proposed action will provide much needed support for our Metro employees who may not have the means to travel for out-of-state procedures.”

“A week ago, every woman in the Metropolitan Government enjoyed medical benefits that guaranteed access to safe and legal abortion services whenever medically necessary,” said Council Member Erin Evans. “No one ever wants to endure an agonizing choice, but knowing there was access to reproductive healthcare was of enormous comfort to women everywhere. Last Friday, the Supreme Court unilaterally removed that right and that security. If the Council can provide alternatives for thousands of Metro Government employees who no longer have that choice, we should do just that.”

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