Archive for Saturday, March 31, 2012

Judge sides with ACLU on abortion insurance

March 31, 2012


— The American Civil Liberties Union has won a legal round in its effort to overturn a Kansas law that restricts insurance coverage for abortions.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson sided with the organization by rejecting the state’s request to dismiss a key challenge of the law based on equal protection. The ruling, handed down Thursday, allows the ACLU to continue pursuing its argument that the law illegally singles out women.

The Kansas law prohibits insurance companies from offering abortion coverage as part of general health plans, except when a woman’s life is at risk. Patients who want abortion coverage must buy supplemental policies, known as riders, that cover only abortion.

The ACLU contends that the law discriminates against women, since men can buy full comprehensive coverage for all their health needs but women need to buy a separate policy to add abortion coverage. The organization contends the purpose of the law is to inhibit women from getting abortions.

That “argument gets closer to the heart of the issue — namely, whether the means used by the state of Kansas to further its interests, including its interest in protecting potential life, can be considered legitimate in view of the individual liberty” outlined in a previous U.S. Supreme Court decision, Robinson wrote. The judge was referring to a ruling that tried to strike a balance between the right of the state to protect a fetus and the right of a woman to terminate her pregnancy.

Robinson said the ACLU might be able to show at trial that Kansas imposed an undue burden by creating a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion.

The ruling provides a glimpse into the legal reasoning of Robinson, the federal judge in Topeka who is overseeing the case following the death of U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown in Wichita earlier this year.

Brown refused last year to block the law’s enforcement, saying opponents failed to prove their claim that legislators’ real intent was to create obstacles for women seeking abortions. But he also told the ACLU that it could try again, noting his decision wasn’t a final ruling on the merits of the group’s claims.

Women seeking an abortion in Kansas need to buy the insurance rider or pay for the procedure out-of-pocket if their insurance policies are new or were renewed after the law took effect last year on July 1.

The law was among several major anti-abortion initiatives approved by Kansas legislators and signed into law last year by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, who called on lawmakers to create “a culture of life” after he took office in January 2011. Supporters of the insurance restrictions contended that people who oppose abortion shouldn’t be forced to pay for such coverage in a general health plan.

In her ruling, Robinson said the U.S. Supreme Court had already made clear that the undue burden standard is the appropriate means of reconciling the state’s interest in potential human life with the woman’s “constitutionally protected liberty” to have an abortion. However, she noted that the high court has not yet clarified how to consider an abortion-related challenge under an equal protection theory, one of the key claims in the ACLU’s lawsuit.


FalseHopeNoChange 6 years, 2 months ago

Republicans are crazy to try and "ban" Liberal women from D&C insurance. ACLU's "fear mongering " needs to be heeded this time. What do the Rebubs want to do? Pay for them themselves?

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 2 months ago

keep our insurance premiums and our tax dollars away from the abortion promoters! Buy you own contraceptives and abortions do not ask Uncle Sam to pay the bill!

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 2 months ago

I'm curious how buying health insurance is "Uncle Sam paying the bill".

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 2 months ago

Everyone is pro life. The question is when does life begin. Our culture celebrates life at birth, hence birthdays not conception days. Historically, families often didn't even name babies immediately after birth because infant mortality rates were so high. That is why you will see headstones in cemeteries that just say baby boy or baby girl. Thank goodness we have made so much progress with that in this country. Sadly, the GOP is hell bent on reversing these blessings by slash and burn tactics in the KS legislature and in congress.

My wish is that there would be no need for abortions, but that would require better sex education in schools, better social services, better access to birth control, etc. These are all things the GOP in their zeal for a cultural revolution of Taliban proportions. You can't solve problems by denying the root causes and cutting funding.

Moderate republicans are welcome in the democratic party. Walk away from the GOP Taliban and join us in the modern 21st century.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 2 months ago

Name calling again from the liberal left. Calling your opponents "Taliban" and not supporting any true agenda will not get votes for the Democrats! Better sex education would be if the government would support parents and urge children and young people to wait until they are legally married to have sexual relations. The "political correctness" crowd that controls the Democrat party certainly will not lead this nation back to more liberty and freedom!

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

If the government followed your advice, and tried to make sure that people didn't have sex until they got married, that would not be a move in the direction of more "liberty and freedom".

You should be able to see that, I hope.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 2 months ago

"Patients who want abortion coverage must buy supplemental policies, known as riders, that cover only abortion."

Brownback facism always looking out for medical insurance industry = one more way for the industry to make another billion or two = heartless.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 2 months ago

More name-calling! Brownback is no more fascist than Obama is Communist! We need to debate the issues one by one without throwing these names and labels around. Brownback is doing a great job showing leadership and turning the ship of state to a more conservative direction.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 2 months ago

Actually, in the classic sense of the word, Brownback is quite fascist. I suggest you look it up.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 2 months ago

"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." - Sinclair Lewis

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

Against the will of the legislature and many voters.

I wonder if he would win an election today for governor, given what people know about his policies now.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 2 months ago

Published on Sunday, April 1, 2012 by The Nation Wisconsin's Recall Elections Are Set for June 5 by John Nichols

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker will be the first chief executive of an American state to face a recall election because he attacked the rights of working people to have a voice in their workplaces and in the public life of the land.

The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board on Friday morning certified more than 900,000 signatures on recall petitions to remove the anti-labor governor -- far in excess of the required 540,000.

also certified more than 800,000 signatures to remove his lieutenant governor. And four of Walker's key legislative allies, including the powerful majority leader of the state Senate, will also be forced to face the voters.

The accomplishment of the grassroots campaign to recall and remove Walker and his allies is dramatic. And the confirmation of that accomplishment marked "a historic day in democracy for the state of Wisconsin,” according to Wisconsin AFL-CIO president Phil Neuenfeldt.

The accomplishment is, as well, unprecedented.


Cait McKnelly 6 years, 2 months ago

Wisconsin Republicans have already publicly stated they would set up dummy Democratic candidates to force primaries in all elections that qualified for recall. They did this to lengthen, by force, the time that Walker and other recallees will have to campaign. The Koch family has donated 1.5 million to Walker's campaign, going through PACs, Koch Industries and other corporations to bypass campaign finance laws.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 2 months ago

Abortion the purposeful dismemberment of a little unborn child should never be paid for with funds of those who object to this wanton act of violence against women and children! I fully support the Governor and Legislature as they seek to take away the subsidy from the heinous killing industry!

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 2 months ago

noy hysteria--just conviction--conservatives will force change at the ballot box.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 2 months ago

Funny, I know a WHOLE lot of women who are chanting, "We will remember in November." themselves. The only "forcing change at the ballot box" your side will be doing is by election fraud. And I don't mean the kind Kris Koch...err Kobach is worried about.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 2 months ago

We shall see which side is more on top of these issues in November. I suspect the conservative side shall prevail!

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