ACLU Challenges Kansas Abortion Restriction

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asked a district court on Tuesday to block a new Kansas law that will prevent private insurers from covering abortions.

Statehouses around the nation are currently embroiled in lawsuits that challenge a state’s ability to place unnecessary barriers on women’s ability to access abortion care.

However, this case is a bit different. The Kansas law doesn’t restrict the behavior of medical providers or women seeking abortion care, but rather how abortion care is paid for. The ACLU contends that the payer restriction is also an “undue burden.” The law, their court brief argues, “is directed exclusively at making it more difficult for women to obtain and pay for abortion care” and therefore is “no different than a law that would require women to pay a tax to obtain an abortion.” The argument here is that: “Kansas men are permitted to buy comprehensive insurance plans that cover all of their potential medical expenses, but Kansas women are prohibited from doing the same.”

By challenging this ‘new kind of restriction,’ pro-choice advocates have the opportunity to pioneer untested arguments, which could have a ripple effect that according to Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, “will likely set a precedent for what cases in other states could look like.”

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