Wichita The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday challenged a magistrate’s recommendation that the federal court deny its request to halt a new Kansas law restricting insurance coverage for abortions.
In a court filing, the ACLU asked U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown to grant its motion for a preliminary injunction. The law, which took effect July 1, prohibits insurance companies from offering abortion coverage as part of their general health plans, except when a woman’s life is at risk. Those who want abortion coverage would have to buy supplemental policies, known as riders, covering only abortion.
“Plaintiff’s members should not be subjected to the sustained violation of their constitutional rights during the pendency of this litigation on account of an affidavit’s foundational defect — at least not where, as here, the defect is so easily curable,” the ACLU argued.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth Gale, who presided over a hearing last week on the requested temporary injunction, issued on Monday his findings and recommendation to deny it. Gale said the group did not lay a proper foundation for their request in an affidavit. He also refused at that hearing to allow ACLU to file a more extensive affidavit, saying it would not be fair to the state to do so.
In his ruling, Gale said the ACLU had failed to prove any of its members would be harmed by the law.
The ACLU also said Brown’s conclusion is contrary to the well-settled principle that a violation of constitutional rights constitutes irreparable injury as a matter of law.
If the court declines to block enforcement of the Kansas abortion insurance law, the ACLU said it is requesting an expedited schedule for discovery and summary judgment so that a ruling on the law’s constitutionality may be realized as quickly as possible.
But ACLU affidavit at issue contended the group has members who will lose or have already lost insurance coverage for abortion because of the new Kansas law, and that some members are unable to purchase a rider to their policy to cover abortions because some insurance companies have not made such riders available.