The ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri has sued Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger to stop implementation of a new law (KS House Bill 2075) that prohibits insurance coverage for elective abortions, unless coverage is limited to abortions procedures “necessary to save the life of the mother.” Individuals who wish to have abortion included in their insurance policy may do so through the purchase of individual riders “for which an additional premium is paid.” The law requires that premiums for such optional riders shall be calculated so to fully cover “the estimated cost of covering elective abortions per enrollee as determined on an average actuarial basis.” Optional riders may not be offered by state or federal insurance exchanges however.
The law is an attempt to solve the problem of insurance companies forcing all policy holders, regardless of personal belief or physical condition, to pay for elective abortions. Refusing to pay for abortions is a matter of conscience for many people, including many who support the legal availability of abortion. Some employers currently exclude such coverage from their policies voluntarily. (Whether they can continue to do so under the President’s healthcare reform is an open question.) The Kansas law simply protects freedom of conscience for those who are insured through policies negotiated by organizations who are indifferent to or support abortion. People who wish to pay for women’s abortions have ample opportunity to contribute to various non-profit organizations established for that purpose.