Archive for Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Kan. seeks to end part of abortion insurance suit

November 16, 2011


— Kansas asked a federal judge Wednesday to reject a claim that a new state law restricting insurance coverage for abortion discriminates against women.

Attorneys for state Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger said in court filings that the law "rationally" promotes several legitimate state interests, including "promoting childbirth over abortion." Praeger is the only defendant in the lawsuit, filed in August by the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri.

U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown, in Wichita, already has rejected the ACLU's request for an order preventing the state from enforcing the law until the case goes to trial. The law, which took effect July 1, prohibits insurance companies from offering abortion coverage as part of general health plans, except when a woman's life is at risk, and patients wanting such coverage must buy supplemental, abortion-only policies.

If Brown grants the request from Praeger's attorneys, then the ACLU's case would narrow to the question of whether the law violates the constitutional right to due legal process of women seeking abortion coverage. The ACLU argues that the law also violates' a woman's right to equal protection under the law.

Praeger's attorneys said past U.S. Supreme Court rulings have established that opposition to abortion does not represent discrimination against women as a class. The attorneys also said the law itself "does not suggest any discriminatory intent, gender-based or otherwise." It says the state's goals include controlling insurance costs and "protecting the consciences" of residents who don't want their premiums subsidizing abortion care.

"The state has a well-recognized interest in protecting potential human life, and in favoring childbirth over abortion," Praeger's attorneys wrote.

Andrew Beck, an ACLU attorney in New York, said he expected Praeger's attorneys to make such an argument. He said the law prevents women in Kansas from buying comprehensive health insurance but doesn't similarly restrict men.

"The law clearly discriminates against women," he said. "It singles out a category of health care that only women need."

The law also prohibits coverage of elective abortions in health policies offered through a state-level insurance exchange set up under last year's federal law overhauling health care. The ACLU has said its members include women who want private coverage for abortion and women who would obtain coverage through an exchange.


voevoda 6 years, 6 months ago

Does the state of Kansas actually have an interest in "promoting childbirth over abortion"? In solely financial terms, the answer would need to be quite different from the one voiced by the Brownback administration. It is not in the state's financial interest for women who are receiving public assistance to give birth to a child who will also need public assistance. It is not in the state's financial interest if the addition of a child will reduce a family to penury (because of the additional expense or because one or the other parent has to cease working in order to care for the child). Further, the state of Kansas arguably has a greater interest in promoting the health and livelihood of an existing adult woman than it does in protecting a "potential" life. Of course, I don't advocate abortion as a state policy even if it happens to be in the state's interest to promote it. Abortion has serious moral implications. However, like so many other moral decisions, it should be a private matter, and the government should stay out of it.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 6 months ago

The courts do not allow the State to go too far in promoting child birth over abortion. However, in areas like public funding and here mandated insurance premiums the State of Kansas should be able to favor child birth over abortion. If Roe is overturned the States will truely be freed to place birth and having a child over the current court imposed immorality of government mandated openness to child killing through abortion on demand.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 6 months ago

IF Roe is overturned... This has all of the likelihood of a snowball's chance in you-know-where.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 6 months ago

There is a cultural revolution underway in Kansas. It is being led by Sam Brownback and the Legislature. they don't care about people whether real or potential. What they do care about is protecting the Koch Brothers interests. BTW, the Koch Boys are modern day robber barons. wake up! the GOP was once the progressive party in this country, but they haven't been about progress since WWI. now, the GOP is nothing more than a bunch of reactionary Nazis.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 6 months ago

well--it didn't take long--here we are again with a personal attack... "nazis"--really? It is very clear that both sides of the political debate have their rich funding sources--have you ever heard of George Sorros--guess which side he funds? Hint-- (it's not the conservatives)! No, the truth is that Mr. Brownback does represent Kansans who want to reduce the size of government and reduce dependency upon government. We want to teach a man to fish and not just be the one handing out free fish! The cultural revolution in Kansas started a long time ago and reflects the true moral and values character of the people of this State who truely believe in the foundational core that built America.

thebigspoon 6 years, 6 months ago

"Foundational core that built America"....... 1) Reduce educational funding so there won't be people with enough analytical skills to see what has happened to their freedoms; 2) Reduce or eliminate vital social service funding so the poor will not be able to live productive lives, thereby eliminating another voter bloc; 3) Eliminate jobs in government, then replace them with higher paid lackeys from out of state; 4) Fight any federal program aimed at helping state citizens obtain and seek affordable insurance; 5) Make sure the state is involved in the most basic of human functions, such as reproductive rights/choices, marriage issues, and that sort of thing so that the citizens will not have to make any decisions on their own based upon their individual situations; 6) Continue with political contribution laws that allow any moneyed entity to buy the votes and support of any candidate who will promulgate its own agenda, especially if that agenda runs contrary to the freedoms of the citizens to choose.

There's mroe, and more, and more, but I think maybe you get the idea. This "cultural revolution" of which you speak has all the earmarks of the more famous cultural revo,ution led by Mao and espoused in the Little Red Book. You decry the use of terms likening Brownback's/Koch's to the rise of the Nazis, but the truth is that there is a revolution happening and it's not one that even you will appreciate if left unchecked. At the end of this path is the time when yoou won't be able to say the things you want if they don't praise the government, won't be able to love who you want, won't have control over your rights in any way. That what you want, KJH? Hope so, 'cause that's where your hero's ideology is leading. Have a great day: there may not be a lot of them left.

Joe Hyde 6 years, 6 months ago

It won't happen in this governor's time in office, but sometime in the future there will be an administration that issues a formal state apology similar to the one just issued by the Brownback administration as a way of apologizing to American Indian tribes for "past misdeeds". (My, what a mild characterization. Okay now, let's hear some more massaging of the topic of tax breaks for the wealthy.)

Except the apology I imagine being issued in the future will be related to "past misdeeds" that the state government of Kansas committed against its own female Kansas citizens. One of those misdeeds being the state's attempts at denying women the right to independently control their own lives by means of controlling pregnancy.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 6 months ago

I think the State needs to issue an apology to all of the children in the seventh, eighth, and ninth month of pregnancy that we allowed to be legally dismembered in the late-George Tiller's abortion mill. The people of Kansas never accepted abortion on demand in those late-stages but our government failed us and allowed the nefarious practice to continue.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 6 months ago

I think the State needs to issue an apology to all of the children in the seventh, eighth, and ninth month of pregnancy that we allowed to be legally dismembered in the late-George Tiller's abortion mill. The people of Kansas never accepted abortion on demand in those late-stages but our government failed us and allowed the nefarious practice to continue.

Kirk Larson 6 years, 6 months ago

What's next? Forcibly impregnating women for the good of the State?

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 6 months ago

wow--you do take things beyond absurd...--hopefully the next thing will be to rebuild a culture of life in Kansas. To lovingly help mothers to welcome newborn children into the world! This really cannot be done through big-government but through the changed hearts and minds of the people as we turn back to our families and our God.

Kirk Larson 6 years, 6 months ago

How about a culture of freedom where women are free to make the decision for themselves rather than have the will of others imposed on them. Taliban much?

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 6 months ago

Women are very free to make choices in this country--but killing a child is something different--it is not a choice that anyone should be forced to make!

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 6 months ago

The State should never place killing of unborn children ahead of the value of each human life. Building a culture of life will be a lasting legacy of this great governor Sam Brownback. He seeks to give us a better Kansas for future generations as we reduce dependency upon the government and reform the tax structure of this state. Churches and private charities must now do as in the past and step up to the plate to be the true providers for those in need! In addition, families must be asked to once again support their own and be a blessing to those in their lives! We need to return to the Lord and his power and majesty as we seek his face and ask him to have mercy and grace upon our land.

beatrice 6 years, 6 months ago

Fine. We will all "return to the Lord" ... as soon as you can prove one exists. Until then, keep your religion out of the lives of others!

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 6 months ago

faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God...why don't you start by reading your Bible --maybe the book of John to begin.

hcother 6 years, 6 months ago

Please consider Brownback's call for Reconciliation and understand that what you are proposing would impinge on my rights and values. Let individuals have their beliefs and let government be smaller and serve all. By all means, enjoy youy return to your lord but don't force it upon me with laws.

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