Topeka Kansas Atty. Gen. Phill Kline has filed a lawsuit against Gov. Kathleen Sebelius seeking a court order to prohibit state-funded abortions.
The lawsuit states that the expenditure of state funds for abortions violates the Kansas Constitution's protection of "inalienable natural rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
The suit also seeks to have the court determine that life starts at fertilization when "a new, unique and genetically distinct human being is formed, distinct from its host while dependent upon her."
The state is allowed through Medicaid, a federal and state funded program that provides health care to low-income Kansans, to pay for abortions. State officials did not immediately say how many abortions were funded through Medicaid per year.
Kline and abortion
- Recent stories on Kline and abortion:
- Sebelius seeks to dismiss abortion suit (10-20-05)
- Child-sex investigation takes turn (10-19-05)
- Kline: Judge must see women's names (09-16-05)
- Records case raises privacy concerns (09-14-05)
- Kline probe goes beyond abortions (09-09-05)
- Abortion opponents dispute claims about patient privacy (09-08-05)
- On the Street: When do you think human life begins? (08-19-05)
- Kline sues Sebelius to end state-funded abortion (08-19-05)
- Kline's clinic probe linked to abortion foe (04-18-05)
- Kline's motives under fire nationally (03-24-05)
- Court lifts abortion gag order; Kline irate (03-11-05)
- Kline finds home in spotlight (03-06-05)
- A.G. releases information despite gag order (03-04-05)
- A.G. wants to search abortion records (02-25-05)
- Kline dismisses abortion lawyer (08-29-04)
- Kline issues funds to pregnancy clinics (07-01-04)
- Kline seeks abortion clinic regulations (04-29-04)
- More on the abortion controversy in Kansas »
The suit was filed on behalf of Kline by Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, whom Kline appointed as special counsel in the case
"I was asked to bring a suit to determine whether there is a conflict to using state funds, through Medicaid, for abortions," Kinzer said.
He said for the court to resolve that issue, "there has to be a determination that the unborn baby qualifies as a person in Kansas' Bill of Rights."
The lawsuit was filed in Shawnee County and is before District Judge Terry Bullock. It was filed against Sebelius, Secretary of Administration Duane Goossen and Bob Day, who is head of Sebelius' health and policy division.
Kline, a staunch opponent of abortion, sought the action in response to a resolution adopted by the Kansas House in 2002 that directed the attorney general to take court action to get a binding determination on whether state funds can be used for abortions.
Whitney Watson, a spokesman for Kline, said, "We did what we were compelled by the Legislature to do."
Asked if Kline agreed with the petition, Watson said, "It was filed on behalf of the attorney general."
Sebelius criticized the lawsuit.
"The state of Kansas is required to follow federal law, which restricts Medicaid funding (for abortion) to three areas only: In the cases of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is threatened. Failing to comply with these requirements would jeopardize the health care dollars Kansas receives from Medicaid which totaled $1.2 billion last year alone," Sebelius spokesperson Nicole Corcoran said.
Staff writer Scott Rothschild can be reached at 785-354-4222.