Ruling supports challenge of Kansas abortion law

The American Civil Liberties Union has won a legal round in its effort to overturn a Kansas law that restricts insurance coverage for abortions.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson last week declined to throw out a key challenge of the law based on equal protection. The ruling allows the ACLU to continue pursuing its argument that the law illegally singles out women.

The Kansas 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 buy supplemental policies, known as riders, that cover only abortion.

The ACLU contends that the law discriminates against women because men can buy comprehensive coverage for all their health needs, but women need to buy a separate policy for abortion coverage.

Robinson said the ACLU might be able to show at trial that Kansas imposed an undue burden by creating a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion.