Reproductive Rights

Federal Judge Refuses to Block Kansas Law Prohibiting Abortion Coverage

US Senior District Judge Wesley Brown denied the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) motion to block a Kansas law that prohibits private health insurance plans from covering abortion services, except when the woman’s life is endangered.

Under the law, women who seek coverage for abortion services must purchase a separate rider to cover non-lifesaving abortions. Doug Bonney, legal director for the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri, stated, “The state has no business depriving a woman of insurance for vital services that are already covered by most health plans. If a woman and her doctor reach the decision that ending a pregnancy is the right choice for her and her family, she should have the peace of mind of knowing that her insurance will cover all of her medical needs.”

Judge Brown ruled that the ACLU had not adequately proven that the Kansas Legislature intentionally sought to block women’s access to abortions, stating, “Whether the practical effect of the law is to create a substantial obstacle is another question, but the plaintiff has not attempted in this motion to put on evidence to establish such an effect.”

According to the Guttmacher Institute, “87% of typical employer-based insurance policies in 2002 covered medically necessary or appropriate abortions.” Since 2010, thirteen states have passed laws banning private health plans that participate in public health exchanges from covering abortions.

Media Resources: Kansas City Star 9/29/11; Washington Post 9/29/11; Huffington Post 9/29/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 8/18/11