ACLU Sues Kansas Challenging State’s Ban on Abortion Insurance Coverage
A Kansas law barring insurance companies from including abortion coverage in their comprehensive plans is unconstitutional, the American Civil Liberties Union claimed in a lawsuit.
The ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri today asked for a court order blocking the measure signed by Republican Governor Sam Brownback, which took effect July 1, arguing that it singles out women for deprivation of needed coverage.
“The act was passed with the purpose of inhibiting women from accessing and paying for abortion care,” according to the group’s complaint. The measure contains an exception for procedures necessary to save the life of the mother.
Thirteen states have enacted laws that prohibit some or all insurance policies from covering abortion care since 2010, according to the civil liberties organization. Today’s suit is the first challenge to one of them, the ACLU said.
Claiming violations of a woman’s right to due process and equal protection under the law, the ACLU is seeking a declaration that the law is unconstitutional and an order blocking its enforcement.
Jeff Wagaman, a spokesman for Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, didn’t immediately respond to voice and e-mail messages seeking comment on the lawsuit.
Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri earlier challenged a measure rendering it ineligible for federal funding, claiming the legislation was intended to punish it for support of abortion rights.
U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten in Kansas City, Kansas, on Aug. 1 granted Planned Parenthood an order blocking the defunding measure. The state is seeking reversal of the order at the U.S. appeals court in Denver.
The case is American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri v. Praeger, 2:11-cv-02462, U.S. District Court, District of Kansas (Kansas City).