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Drawing a Line in the Sand: Stopping Politicians from Taking Away Insurance Coverage for Abortion Care

Brigitte Amiri,
Deputy Director,
ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project
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August 16, 2011

Today the ACLU and the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri filed a case challenging a Kansas law that prohibits insurance companies from providing abortion coverage in their comprehensive plans. Since 2010, 13 states have passed laws prohibiting some or all insurance plans from covering abortion care. Kansas’s law is the first to take effect, and our lawsuit is the first to take a step toward putting an end to this growing trend.

Kansas’s law is extreme: it bans abortion coverage in comprehensive plans for the vast majority of abortions, including those necessary to protect a woman’s health and for pregnancies resulting from rape/incest. As a result of the law, thousands of women in Kansas will lose their existing abortion coverage and will now have to pay out-of-pocket for this medical procedure.

Kansas’s law wasn’t passed in a vacuum. In fact, the politicians in Kansas have had a field day this past legislation session inserting themselves, again and again, in private health care decisions, including passing laws that threatened to shut down all three abortion clinics in the state and a law that defunds Planned Parenthood. Luckily, the courts have blocked both laws.

And Kansas does not exist in a vacuum. Across the country, legislature after legislature has attacked women’s access to abortion and other reproductive health care. As we have discussed before, it has been the worst legislative session on record for women’s health care.

It’s time to draw a line in the sand, and stop states from taking away insurance coverage for medical care that 1 in 3 women in the U.S. need. We hope the court will stop the law and protect the ability of women in Kansas to make the best decision for themselves and their families. Such a ruling would also send a strong signal to politicians around the country who are poised to pass laws like Kansas’s. This would support women to say: “Not so fast: Protect my health insurance, and don’t take it away.”

Have you been impacted by an insurance ban in your state? Help us stop this trend from spreading and tell us your story.

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