ACLU Sues to Make Kansas Fund Abortions in Obamacare

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 16, 2011   |   1:14PM   |   Topeka, KS

The ACLU has filed a lawsuit seeking to make Kansas residents fund abortions under the Obamacare law that has the government running a nationwide health insurance plan that includes abortion funding and rationing concerns.

The state legislature approved, and pro-life Gov. Sam Brownback signed, a law that makes it so no state or federally administered health-insurance exchange in Kansas that is established under Obamacare can fund abortions at taxpayer expense. That has Kansas following several other states in exercising their right to opt out of abortion funding in the Obamacare law, which has numerous loopholes allowing it.

But the American Civil Liberties Union has sued and is upset that women seeking abortions would have to purchase a separate rider for their insurance policy that would cover abortions, so enrollees are not forced to pay for them.

“This law is part of a nationwide trend to take away insurance coverage for a legal medical procedure that is an important part of basic health care for women,” Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said in a statement. “Many things can happen in a pregnancy that are beyond a woman’s control, so having insurance coverage for abortion ensures that every woman can get the health care she may need.”

When the law was approved, state legislators said it was critically needed.

“This bill includes very crucial pro-life language,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lance Kinzer, an Olathe Republican, in a AP report. “I would view this as an important conscience protection for Kansas business owners.”

“The fundamental issue here is not — although I wish it were — the ability to further limit legal access to abortion, but rather who pays,” Kinzer said.

Kansas is facing two other lawsuits over new pro-life provisions, as two abortion practitioners have filed suit against a new law that has already resulted in temporarily closing one abortion center and may result in the closing of two others that may fail to meet the new health and safety standards.

The new law pro-life Gov. Sam Brownback signed requires abortion centers to meet the same basic health and safety standards as legitimate outpatient surgical centers such as, according to the bill, “having an emergency door that can accommodate a gurney … maintaining proper emergency equipment, drugs and protocols, having proper lighting and ventilation, lavatory areas, and spaces for the sterilization of surgical equipment. Clinics must also have a licensed nurse in the clinic when abortions are done.”

Meanwhile, Kansas is appealing a ruling a federal judge issued blocking a new law the Kansas state legislature approved that revokes taxpayer funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business.

U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten issued an injunction preventing the state from enforcing the law after Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri argued that it would suffer irreparable harm if the law was allowed to stand and that it would be forced to close one or more of its facilities because Kansas would direct hundreds of thousands of taxpayer funds to non-abortion medical clinics that provide the same services without also destroying the lives of women and unborn children in abortions.