(CN) – Kansas may be liable for not letting health insurers cover abortions under comprehensive policies, a federal judge ruled.
Sandy Praeger, state insurance commissioner, had moved for partial summary judgment on the pleadings, arguing that the American Civil Liberties Union did not properly plead its claim that the law unfairly singles out women in violation of the right to equal protection.
The ACLU is also suing for violation of its members 14th Amendment rights to due process.
U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson in Topeka rejected the motion Thursday.
Under House Bill 2075, which Kansas enacted in 2011, insurers in the state cannot cover more abortions under comprehensive health insurance policies. An exception offers coverage to women who have “non-elective” because their lives are in danger. Otherwise, women must purchase a supplemental policy for abortion only to have coverage.
“By prohibiting women from purchasing insurance that covers all of their health care needs while placing no similar restrictions on men, [the statute] impermissibly discriminates based on sex,” the complaint states.
The ACLU claimed the law was passed “with the purpose of inhibiting women from accessing and paying for abortion care.”
After weighing a state interest in protecting potential life against a woman’s “constitutionally protected liberty” to have an abortion, Robinson said the ACLU has a valid equal-protection claim. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court found that the due process clause constitutionally protects a woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy.
“Plaintiff has alleged facts from which it may be able to show that the State law has imposed an undue burden by creating a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion protected by Casey, including a pre-viability abortion or an abortion necessary to preserve the health of the mother,” Robinson wrote. “Such a claim, if proven, would support entitlement to relief under either a due process or equal protection theory.”