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Kansas Abortion Law Remains in Effect: Judge Denies ACLU Request

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on October 04, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A federal judge has refused to block Kansas' abortion insurance law, which went into effect this past July.

The law bans private insurers from providing abortion coverage unless it is necessary for the mother's health. Women will have to purchase a separate policy if they wish to maintain abortion coverage.

The ACLU challenged the law's constitutionality, but failed to provide sufficient evidence for a preliminary injunction.

Typically, legislation is invalid "if it has the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion." A substantial obstacle is one that imposes an undue burden on the ability to have an abortion.

The ACLU focused on the purpose of Kansas' abortion insurance law. It argued that the legislature's predominant motive was to make it more difficult for women to obtain an abortion.

The judge found that there was not sufficient evidence to demonstrate an improper purpose. A number of other abortion laws were passed during the same legislative session, but that is not enough. There were no statements indicating a desire to end abortion.

Instead, the state argued that the law lowers insurance costs and protects employers. The legislature believes that employers should not be forced to pay for a procedure they do not support.

The above does not mark the end of this case. The court indicated that the organization did a lackluster job at arguing the effect of the law. They did not provide ample evidence to substantiate its impact on the female plaintiffs.

If the ACLU can provide concrete evidence demonstrating the impact of the Kansas abortion insurance law, they may be able to win at trial. But again, at least eight other states have similar provisions, one of which the Kansas City Star reports has been upheld by the 8th Circuit.

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