New Judge, New Ruling In Kansas Abortion Insurance Fight


The American Civil Liberties Union won one round in its effort to undo a Kansas law that prohibits insurance coverage for abortions.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson rejected the state’s request to dismiss a key challenge to the law, allowing the ACLU to continue pursuing its claims that the law is unconstitutional because it illegally singles out women. The law prohibits insurance companies from offering abortion coverage as part of general health plans, except when a woman’s life is at risk. Patients who want abortion coverage must then buy supplemental policies called riders that cover only abortions.

According to the ACLU, the law discriminates against women since men can buy full comprehensive coverage for all their health care needs but women must buy a separate policy at an additional cost to add abortion coverage. The purpose behind the rider law is to discourage women from seeking abortions and to make it too expense to pay for them.

The decision may also be the product of a fresh set of eyes. Robinson, the federal judge in Topeka overseeing the case, was assigned to it after the judge who had previously been handling the case, U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown, died earlier this year.

Brown had refused to block enforcement of the law last year saying the ACLU had failed to prove their claim that the real intent of legislators was to create obstacles for women seeking abortions. This week Judge Robinson disagreed.

In her ruling Robinson made it clear that the undue burden adopted by the Supreme Court is the appropriate means of balancing the state’s interest in potential human life with a woman’s “constitutionally protected liberty” to have an abortion. However, the Supreme Court has not yet clarified how to consider an abortion-related challenge under an equal protection theory which is one of the key claims to the ACLU’s challenge, so this issue is far from settled.

That means we could be looking at yet another abortion lawsuit that may be destined to go before the Roberts Court in the coming years.


Related Stories:

Judge Refuses To Block Kansas Insurance Ban

Kansas Wants To Shield Doctors Who Lie To Women About Abortion


Photo from Naval History & Heritage Command via flickr.


Dennis D.
Past Member 4 years ago

And another win for the good guys.. but still the fight continues...

KS Goh
KS Goh5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Amanda M.
Amanda M5 years ago

Bravo to Judge Robinson for seeing the gender bias in this idiotic law and standing up against it. We need more people like her!

Evelyn M.
Evelyn M5 years ago

Thank you Judge Robinson, would that all jurists had your wisdom.

Tony C.
Tony C5 years ago

When you try and vote the party of NO out you better make sure that you can vote. Some States have changed their voter registration laws so that even if you wanted to vote you won't be able to. PLEASE CHECK the voter registration laws of the States that you live in NOW, so that you can have the right ID when it comes time to vote. PLEASE tell ALL your friends about this, especially students, seniors, immigrants and the poor. I am sure that the 1% will be flocking to the voting booths so that they can retain their power and money. The 99% had better start THINKING about what will happen if the republicans get in again. For example, no contraceptives which will lead to more people. Right now 8 BILLION PLUS. No abortions even for sick babies, unwanted babies because of rape or incest. No Jobs, undrinkable water because of fracking, war with Iran, no health care. Abstinence programs only, which do not work and many others. Sex Education is needed so that unwanted pregnancy and abortion can be lessened along with STD’S that can KILL your child. So if you don't vote and get as many as you can to vote along with you and the republicans get into power this may and probably will happen. Here is an idea, car pool with a car full to the voting booths (saves gas) and after you vote, have a party and KNOW that you have done your best for your country. Have a designated driver. PLEASE REMEMBER, DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE.

Terri Lynn Merritts
Terri M5 years ago

Hate to wish anyone to be dead but the women of Kansas are fortunate that the sexist Judge Brown kicked the bucket. The state of Kansas has no business interfering in which legal medical procedures, tests, and meds any insurance company chooses to offer. They have overstepped their bounds. Abortion is legal whether they like it or not.,

Sandra L.
Sandra L5 years ago

Green star to you Doyle, solidarity.

Cathryn C.
Cathryn C5 years ago

We need more Judges like her.

Leah H.
Leah H5 years ago

Doyle D. - than you! If the powerful can legislate against women in this way, it is only a matter of time before they are legislating against other things that benefit the 99%: consider the minimum wage, regulations regarding working conditions, worker safety - the list goes on.

Leah H.
Leah H5 years ago

We need more women judges! We also need more minority judges. Kansas has gone bat-sh#t crazy. Makes you wonder, who profits? Nothing happens in this country unless someone gets a profit from it.