Kansas Will Comply With Medicaid Regulations, Fund Abortions

A federal district judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit brought by Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline (R) that sought to prevent Kansas from funding abortions for the state’s Medicaid recipients. Kline filed the suit in summer 2005, attempting to define life as beginning at conception and arguing that Medicaid-funded abortions conflicted with the right-to-life provision of the state constitution. Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D) was listed as a defendant in the case, and filed a motion to dismiss the case in October, as federal law dictates that states cover the cost of abortion in cases of rape, incest, or danger to a woman’s health, and the federal government could withdraw all federal Medicaid funding if Kansas attempted to ban these abortions.

District Judge David Bruns agreed with Sebelius, writing in his opinion, “To the extent that the federal government has ‘occupied the field,’ all of the branches of state government are required to yield to the laws and regulations of the United States,” according to the Associated Press. Kline does not intend to file an appeal unless told to do so by the Kansas legislature, which earlier prompted this lawsuit with a 2002 legislative resolution.

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Associated Press 1/24/06; Kaiser 1/26/06; Kansas City Star 1/26/06

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