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Archive for Wednesday, September 14, 2011

In defending against abortion lawsuit, state says it has interest in favoring childbirth over abortion, protecting human life

September 14, 2011, 9:45 a.m. Updated September 14, 2011, 2:39 p.m.

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— The state of Kansas has defended a new law that restricts insurance coverage for abortions, arguing it has an interest in protecting human life and in favoring childbirth over abortion.

The argument is part of the state's response filed late Tuesday to a temporary injunction sought by the American Civil Liberties Union in a lawsuit challenging the new law. The ACLU contends the law is unconstitutional because it prohibits women from buying insurance coverage for all their health needs while not putting a similar restriction on men.

The insurance law is among several major anti-abortion initiatives approved by Kansas legislators and signed into law this year by Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican who called upon lawmakers to create "a culture of life" after taking office in January. Two other new state statutes — one dealing with stricter abortion clinic regulations and the other stripping federal funding from a Planned Parenthood chapter — have been temporarily blocked by two other federal judges pending trial on their constitutionality.

U.S. Magistrate Kenneth Gale will hear arguments Friday in Wichita on the ACLU's request to block enforcement of the law until the matter is settled at trial. Gale will then make a recommendation to U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown, who at 104-years-old is too frail to preside himself over long hearings.

At issue in Friday's hearing is whether to the federal court should also issue a preliminary injunction against the new insurance law, which prohibits private companies from offering coverage of elective abortions as part of their regular health plans. As of July 1, people wanting such coverage must purchase separate, abortion-only policies.

Its supporters contend people opposing abortion shouldn't be forced to subsidize the coverage for others in a general health plan. The ACLU contends the law is designed to limit a woman's financial ability to get an abortion and is discriminatory on equal protection grounds because men's health coverage isn't restricted.

In her court response to ACLU's request for an injunction, Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger argued that federal law and policy gives Kansas the right to regulate insurance coverage for abortion, noting that 14 other states have similarly regulated coverage for the procedure.

The state argued that having to pay the full cost of an abortion without a subsidy by other people who are insured is not a violation of a constitutional right. It contends that an increase in the cost of an abortion does not place an "undue burden" on the right to an abortion.

Kansas also argued it has broad powers to regulate the insurance industry, noting insurance regulations are difficult to challenge on constitutional grounds such as due process or equal protection so long as the legislation is rationally related to a legitimate government purpose.

Kansas contended in its court filing that it is "both proper and rational for the State to regulate insurance in a way that seeks to protect potential human life and to promote childbirth over abortion."

The state also noted that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act expressly authorized the states to prohibit abortion coverage in policies sold on the state exchanges.

Besides Kansas, other states that elected to prohibit abortion coverage through the exchange include Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia.

"Deciding whether to finance an abortion out of one's pocket or whether to purchase a rider to one's health insurance policy to cover abortion services necessarily results in a fuller and better understanding of the actual costs of abortion," the state argued.

Comments

Pastor_Bedtime 2 years, 7 months ago

Yeah the every sperm is sacred crowd will soon be painting their scarlet letters upon the adulterers.

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Paul R Getto 2 years, 7 months ago

EP: "Also, if he wants to promote childbirth, why isn't he legislating to stop hysterectomies, female tube tying, vasectomies, condom sales, morning after pill, any form of birth control etc etc?" =========== Those are on the list for future banning, particularly birth control. The American Taliban has just begun their efforts to save us. Be patient.

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tomatogrower 2 years, 7 months ago

Protecting human life, until birth. Then they are on their own, unless they agree to join a "faith based" church. Then you might get an education, health care, food. Otherwise, you don't exist.

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voevoda 2 years, 7 months ago

Why is the Brownback administration wasting our taxpayers' money (which he says is insufficient to provide for necessary services) on lawsuits to defend the expansion of government interference in private business (telling insurance companies what products they may and may not offer) and in the most intimate area of family life (determining for individual women when it is, and is not, in their best interest to carry a pregnancy to term)? Whatever Brownback's governing ideology is, it's not "limited government" or "capitalism" or "supporting families."

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Armored_One 2 years, 7 months ago

I read a comment earlier about how if someone has the pro choice stance, that they are endorsing everything having a choice.

I hate to break it to you, but that thought is already a reality. We choose to do any of those actions you listed, but there are consequences for said actions, mostly legal ones, but there are a few cases of backroom justice as well.

My mother was faced with this choice, and well you can guess which one she chose. I will not say if it was right or wrong, since it was her choice, not mine. The one tidbit that most everyone seems to overlook is the fetus is incapable of making even a rudimentary choice.

How many choices does the average parent make for a child after it is born that he/she has no ability to prevent or alter? No one asks the child if they want innoculations. No one asks the child about food. No one asks the child about housing arrangements, divorce, marriage, or anything else that can seriously impact the health and safety, physically and mentally, of the child in question.

We never stick our noses into how someone raises a child until they are abused, although the definition for that term is becoming more and more laughable as we progress. No one really questions the legality of the parent's right to make the choices that they do after the child has arrived, but you are willing to remove any choice except the one you deem as 'right'.

Do you not smell the hypocracy that you are standing in up to your knees, or are you unable, or unwilling, to accept that a person's body is sancrosanct and the right to determine what we do and don't do to it is ours and ours alone?

If we trust the parent to make choices unsupervised after birth, why can't we trust them before birth?

Or are you so self absorbed that you can say, with a straight face, that you know what is best for someone you have never met in your lifetime, and most likely will never meet? Are you really that egotistical?

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beatrice 2 years, 7 months ago

"Gale will then make a recommendation to U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown, who at 104-years-old is too frail to preside himself over long hearings."

Why do we have judges that are 104 years old?!? That is 312 trimesters (315 for those who believe life starts at conception).

Sorry to be ageist, but that is too damn old to be making judgments on others, especially if you can't listen to the arguments. I mean, he was born when the Titanic was still in the planning stages. He is older than the Ford Model T. Great for him for wanting to keep working, but it isn't great for those he is judging.

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JayhawkFan1985 2 years, 7 months ago

Perhaps the state of Kansas should pay for the abortions when the pregnancy resulted from a crime such as rape or incest. But the ideology of the Kansas cultural revolution wouldn't even allow for that. Big brother will be on our backs for decades on issues that matter despite their rhetoric. Vote these fools out of office.

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pace 2 years, 7 months ago

the state has no business to spend tax payer money on trick laws designed to inhibit a citizen rights. I appreciate they have beliefs that don't coincide with the legal rights. It is not right to twist law and policy to inhibit citizen rights so to conform to their belief. I hate seeing tax money gathered from the the very citizens that these trick laws are aimed at. Stand up, protest, vote, but no, don't pass crooked laws to circumnavigate rights. The poor laws will go down in history books right along with the Jim Crow laws.

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evilpenguin 2 years, 7 months ago

As I've said before, if a woman wants an abortion then she will get one, one way or another. Just because "the government" wants to push their beliefs onto others and legislate how people live their lives, they can't enforce the laws they want to pass.

People will drink

People will do drugs

People will visit unsanitary back-alley abortionists

People will get their partners to beat them half to death

Brownback needs to realize that the world does not revolve around him.

Also, if he wants to promote childbirth, why isn't he legislating to stop hysterectomies, female tube tying, vasectomies, condom sales, morning after pill, any form of birth control etc etc? Because they are used to protect people, as is abortion. But then there is no getting through to people who follow god.

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viva_la_revolucion 2 years, 7 months ago

Whatever happened to the mantra, "Get Government Out of Health Care." ?

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verity 2 years, 7 months ago

I would like to point out to the people who always bring up the issue of adoption---I would not want to bring a child into the world and have someone else raise it. You do not get to tell me or anybody else that that is the correct option or necessarily a good option. I don't need to give birth to supply someone else with a child.

Blindrabbit brings up another very relevant concern.

The state---or anybody else---does not have the right to tell me that I must give birth. That is my decision and mine alone.

And before you start lecturing me on abstinence or whatever, there is no chance that I will ever become pregnant.

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blindrabbit 2 years, 7 months ago

oldvet: Like your post! Unfortunately, many of these "Safe Haven" infants come from situations where the mother's pregnancy health is unknown! Any drug, alcohol, STD and genetic issues are totally unknown, and the effects on the child may not be expressed for many years. No good answers I guess and to not sound too crass but buyer beware from the adoptive parents POV.

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Agnostick 2 years, 7 months ago

I think there's a good chance that this "court document" will provide legal ripples for the State of Kansas for years to come... on many, many other issues. The next time the legislature tries to cut school/education funding, I fully expect lawyers for the schools, teachers unions etc. to bring this up: "If the state has an interest in protecting human life, does that also mean providing a suitable education for that life?"

Does that also extend to proper nutrition?

Does that also extend to proper health care and immunizations?

Does that also extend to suitable housing?

Does that also extend to the "parental unit(s)" that are serving, essentially, "in loco civitas?"

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Agnostick 2 years, 7 months ago

Choosing childbirth over abortion often provides an easy way to protect human life.

Often... but not always.

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SnakeFist 2 years, 7 months ago

The state argued that it has an interest in having more children born, but the state has been cutting funding for education and cutting aid programs for low income families. Apparently, the state's interest begins and ends with the child's birth and doesn't extend to the child's quality of life.

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Liberty275 2 years, 7 months ago

The right wing is making the correct argument. American lives are constitutionally protected. Now we just need to define the moment a life goes from being a parasite to being an American. I say it is when the homo sapiens in question draws it's first breath of air, and somebody else will scream "conception". The extremists are accounted for. It's the cats in the middle the advocates from both sides need to herd.

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madameX 2 years, 7 months ago

So no argument that the state is overstepping it's bounds by limiting private business' right to provide coverage for a legal procedure that may actually have a lower cost than the alternative (cost of covering abortion versus cost of covering pregnancy)? That one might be stronger than the one they're using. I would have expected them to try both.

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Paul R Getto 2 years, 7 months ago

KJH: Ummmmmmmm.........because abortion is legal?

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kansanjayhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Why would the State of Kansas have any other position than to protect and preserve human life? Why would the state support abortion the brutal killing of an unborn child? This is why pro-life citizens are active in elections because we want the government to protect and preserve life and not condone the nefarious practice of abortion.

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