ACLU sues over abortion insurance ban

Aug. 17, 2011 at 4:31 PM
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TOPEKA, Kan., Aug. 17 (UPI) -- The American Civil Liberties Union has sued to challenge a new Kansas law banning insurers from providing elective abortion coverage.

The ACLU claimed in a federal lawsuit Tuesday the law is unconstitutional and discriminates against women because no similar limits apply to men's healthcare, The Kansas City (Mo.) Star reported.

"The state enacted a law with no purpose other than to try to make it more difficult for women to obtain abortion care and to pay for that care," said Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney with the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project.

The ACLU targeted the law in Kansas, among 10 states that have restricted insurance coverage of abortions since last year, because it became the first to take effect, Amiri said.

The Kansas Legislature approved the abortion insurance law and four other abortion restrictions -- all signed into law by Republican Gov. Sam. Brownback, an abortion opponent.

Abortion rights advocates have gone to court to challenge two of them. One places restrictions on abortion clinics and the other eliminates federal family-planning funds for Planned Parenthood.

Both have been temporarily blocked by federal judges, and the state is appealing.

The Kansas abortion insurance law forbids private insurance from providing elective abortion coverage in the state unless it is needed to save the mother's life. Women can still receive coverage for abortions, but must buy a separate rider for which they pay more.

Abortion opponents say businesses should not be required to subsidize abortions if they believe they're immoral.

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