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ACLU loses bid to block Kansas ‘abortion-free’ insurance

by | Sep 30, 2011

By Kathy Ostrowski, Legislative Director, Kansans for Life

U.S. Magistrate Kenneth Gale

The ACLU of Kansas & Western Missouri has failed to block Kansas’ new health insurance law, HB 2075, which bars elective abortion coverage in private insurance plans without individually-purchased “riders.” U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown followed the Sept. 19 recommendation of U.S. Magistrate Kenneth Gale to deny a preliminary injunction.

The state’s attorneys had argued that lawmakers were expressing “the conscience of its people” in passing the legislation because abortion opponents should not have to subsidize the procedure in a general health insurance plan.

In Thursday’s order Brown wrote, “[T]he law appears to rationally further a state interest in allowing the state’s citizens to avoid paying insurance premiums for services to which they have a moral objection.”

Judge Gale presided over the hearing, finding that the ACLU “has failed to present evidence sufficient to establish its “clear and unequivocal right to relief” and that the “Court is unable to ascertain how the [affidavit provided] arrived [at] the general conclusions made.”

The ACLU neglected to furnish, at a bare minimum:

·         the specific number of Kansas ACLU women-members;

·         how many were unable to purchase abortion policy ‘riders’;

·         how the ACLU program director was in any way qualified to assess the status of members and how they would be harmed.

U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown

HB 2075 does not deny medical coverage for life-of-the-mother situations, including ectopic pregnancy.  It also does not deny coverage for miscarriage, as the ACLU falsely tried to assert in the original pleading.

Kansans for Life Executive Director Mary Kay Culp pointed out, “I don’t think people realize that according to 2010 abortion statistics even in Kansas nearly 40% of all abortions are repeat abortions: 25% for a second abortion, 10% for the third abortion; 3.5% for the fourth abortion;  and l.9% for five or more abortions.

Similar laws protect the conscience rights of employers and employees in seven other states–Idaho, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin–and have survived various legal challenges.

In fact, for over two decades, part of eastern Kansas has functioned under Missouri’s ‘abortion-free’ health insurance law since Blue Cross of Kansas City offers one policy for both states!

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Categories: Abortion