ACLU in Kansas

So wow… apparently the politicians in Kansas really hate women. Luckily for the women in the state groups like the Center for Reproductive Rights and the ACLU exist. The Center for Reproductive Rights is in the middle of a lawsuit against the debilitating restrictions Kansas recently put on its abortion providers. This week, the ACLU jumped into the fray by filing for an injunction against a law that prohibits insurance companies from covering abortions.

This law has two pieces. One aspect is that is bans all insurances plans from covering abortions except in cases where the mother’s life is in danger. Though it does allow the option for insurance companies to offer additional riders to the plan that would cover abortions, many insurance companies have said that if they offer them at all, it would likely only be on some of their plans, not all. Considering that at present, 87% of insurance policies cover abortions, this law has the potential to severely limit women’s access to abortion.

The other portion prohibits all policies created under the new health care exchange created by “Obamacare” from providing abortion coverage. Though it has very limited exceptions to coverage, it has no allowances for the additional rider option. This means that women who do not have employer provided plans will have virtually no option for abortion coverage at all.

Brigitte Amiri, the lawyer representing the ACLU in this case, has given two primary reasons they are challenging the law. The first is that it is unconstitutional. Its sole purpose is to make it more difficult for women to get an abortion and this violates previous rulings granting women the right to access abortion.  

The second reason is that is discriminates based on sex. She says “Kansas has prohibited women from buying policies that include abortion coverage, but there is no restriction from the state about any sort of service that men need… The men in Kansas have access to fully comprehensive health coverage, and the women don’t.”

Currently there are 13 states with similar legislation limiting abortion coverage, but Kansas was the first to have its law take effect so it is the first to be challenged. The results of this case could have major implications on the laws in other states. If the federal court sees reason, it will have the impact of getting these ridiculously sexist and demeaning laws overturned.

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