Topeka Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday defended his approval of a bill that prohibits insurance companies from offering abortion coverage unless the procedure is necessary to save the woman’s life.
“The abortion debate is a difficult one,” said Brownback, an anti-abortion Republican who has signed several anti-abortion measures this year.
“There are a number of people that do not believe it is appropriate to use taxpayer dollars for abortion. There are a number of people, they don’t want it in their insurance policy that they are paying for and that is the issue that came up in the Legislature, and the Legislature passed it and I signed it,” Brownback said.
The Kansas chapter of the National Organization for Women will conduct a news conference on the south steps of the Capitol at 11 a.m. Wednesday — the official end of the 2011 legislative session — to denounce recently approved abortion bills and the comments made by a legislator during debate of the abortion-insurance measure.
“Kansas NOW is tired of legislators, who in efforts to pass their moral agenda, ignore the horrfiying reality of crimes such as rape,” the group said in a statement.
The Kansas NOW has criticized state Rep. Pete DeGraaf, R-Mulvane, for comments he made during debate in the House on May 13.
During debate, Rep. Barbara Bollier, R-Mission Hills, noted that abortions would not be covered for cases of rape and incest.
According to a report by The Associated Press, DeGraaf responded, “We do need to plan ahead, don’t we, in life?”
Bollier then asked, “And so, women need to plan ahead for issues that they have no control over with pregnancy?”
DeGraaf then said, “I have a spare tire in my car. I also have life insurance. I have a lot of things that I plan ahead for.”
Kansas NOW has asked for $5 donations to deliver model tires to DeGraaf. The group said it has received $3,000 in donations from across the country.
Starting in July, individuals and employers who want abortion coverage would have to buy additional policies that cover only abortion.
In addition, the law also states that no state or federally administered health-insurance exchange in Kansas established under the federal health care overhaul law can offer coverage for abortions, other than to save a woman’s life.