by Steven Ertelt
October 20, 2005
Topeka, KS (LifeNews.com) — Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius filed a motion on Wednesday to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Phill Kline to obtain a court order preventing the state from paying for abortions through its Medicaid program for poor residents who are victims of rape or incest.
Sebelius, a pro-abortion Democrat, opposes Kline’s lawsuit, which he says he filed on behalf of state lawmakers who approved a measure asking him to do so.
Kline’s lawsuit says spending taxpayers’ money on the rare abortions violates the state Constitution and its protection of "inalienable natural rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." The lawsuit comes after the state legislature approved a measure calling on the state’s attorney general to file it.
An attorney for Sebelius argues that federal law requires the state to pay for abortions in cases of rape or incest and the governor is worried that Kansas could lose billions in Medicaid funds if Kline’s lawsuit is successful. She wants him to withdraw the suit.
In a written statement, Kline responded, “If the governor wants us to dismiss the suit, she should ask the House of Representatives to rescind the resolution."
According to state figures, seven abortions have qualified for Medicaid reimbursement in the 2005 federal fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. The state’s cost totaled $1,907.92.
Over the last either years, the state has paid for 28 abortions, costing more than $8,000.
Should the lawsuit proceed, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt says it wouldn’t put the federal funds at risk.
"I feel optimistic it does not, and we’ll learn more as time goes on," Leavitt said in August.
Kline’s lawsuit also seeks to have the court declare that life begins at conception when "a new, unique and genetically distinct human being is formed, distinct from its host while dependent upon her."
The Kansas House voted 70-50 in March 2002 to ask the attorney general to ask the state Supreme Court to declare that life begins at conception.