Magistrate Refuses to Give ACLU Temporary Injunction in Kansas Insurance Lawsuit

By Dave Andrusko

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth Gale today rejected the American Civil Liberties Union’s request for a preliminary injunction against a Kansas law that bans elective abortion payment in private health plans and future Obamacare-mandated state health exchanges. Pregnancies that truly threaten a woman’s life are exempted from the law and insurance companies may offer coverage for elective abortions in their private plans through separately-purchased riders. 

Judge Gale held a hearing on the matter Friday in which he sharply questioned lawyers for the state and for the ACLU.   Today Gale said the ACLU had not shown that its members will suffer “irreparable harm” from the law.

He forwarded his recommendation to Judge Wesley Brown who was technically assigned to this litigation.  There was no date given as to when Judge Brown would issue his final ruling.

According to Kansans for Life, the private insurance portion of this law has been in effect in Missouri and other states for as long as 20 years and has survived court challenges.  Private business owners should be able to protect the conscience rights of their employees and not be forced to underwrite abortion on demand.  This law accomplishes that, yet still allows women to purchase elective abortion coverage–if desired.

The language of Kansas’s HB 2075 takes advantage of specific language in ObamaCare that allows States to affirmatively prohibit coverage of abortions under the qualified health plans offered through the exchanges. Kansas joined Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia.

Kansas has been sued by Planned Parenthood because a new state budget provision only reimburses Title X family planning-related services to full-service public clinics, of which Planned Parenthood has none in the state.  The state health department has complied with an order by Judge Thomas Marten that an initial payment of $58,000 be made to Planned Parenthood while the lawsuit continues.

In the third suit against the state, two abortion businesses are protesting temporary licensure regulations that require two annual inspections for sanitation issues as well as timely abortion-related death and injury reports. The Kansas Health Department has stood behind those regulations, and–barring significant public input to the contrary–will make those regulations permanent in one month.

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