Critics challenging a Kansas law restricting private health insurance coverage for abortions haven’t shown that it burdens women seeking to terminate their pregnancies, attorneys representing the state’s insurance commissioner argued in federal court filings Friday.
Lawyers for Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger also defended the 2011 law as a policy likely to give the public a better understanding of the costs of obtaining abortions.
The attorneys representing Praeger asked U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson to uphold the law and reject a challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri before a lawsuit filed by the group goes to trial. Last year, shortly after the law took effect, the ACLU sued Praeger, whose office regulates insurance companies.
The law prohibits insurance companies from offering coverage for abortions in their general plans, except when a woman’s life is in danger. Kansas residents or employers who want abortion coverage must buy supplemental policies, known as riders.
Last month, the ACLU asked Robinson to strike down the law before a trial of its lawsuit, arguing the statute has made it more difficult to obtain abortions, penalizing women who exercise a constitutional right to terminate their pregnancies. But the attorneys representing Praeger said the ACLU hasn’t presented evidence that individual women who’ve sought abortions have been unable to obtain them.
“Because the law does not impose an undue burden on a woman’s ability to make a decision to have an abortion, the balancing and resolution of the various interests in this particular setting is most appropriately left to the political process and our elected leaders,” Praeger’s attorneys wrote in a legal memo accompanying their request to have the law upheld.