UPDATE, Sept. 19: Gale recommends injunction denial to Judge Wesley Brown, who will issue the final decision.
Kansans for Life attended a 90-minute hearing today in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth Gale in federal court in Wichita.
The hearing was about emergency action (a preliminary injunction) to halt the new Kansas law ending abortion coverage in private health insurance plans.
At the hearing, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was pressing for the injunction on behalf of unnamed women who will lose current abortion coverage. They claim this is sex discrimination that prevents women from buying plans covering all of their “health-care needs” while imposing no limitations on the medical needs of men.
Judge Gale appeared to favor the ACLU while frequently interrupting Kansas Solicitor General, Stephen McAllister, handling the state’s defense.
The ACLU was supposed to show irreparable harms will occur unless the law is halted, but failed to prove it met the required elements to be granted the injunction. Judge Gale seems inclined to issue the injunction, but struggled to find legal authority and frequently asked the ACLU for relevant case law.
McAllister had to repeatedly remind the judge to stay focused on the narrow issue at hand and the judge even acknowledged “asking a question that’s not before the Court.”
McAllister answered every question masterfully and reminded the judge that this law was “overwhelmingly” passed by the legislature, signed by the Governor, and expressed the will of the people of Kansas. He stressed the law was designed to protect the conscience of the people so they “don’t have to worry” that they are paying for someone else’s abortion.
The new pro-life insurance law, HB 2075, went into effect July 1. It was carried by Rep Pete DeGraaf (R-Mulvane) and patterned after laws operating for decades in other states.
Under the law, any abortions authentically necessary to prevent the death of a mother would be covered. Otherwise abortion coverage can be purchased by individual “riders”. Health care coverage for naturally-occurring miscarriages is unaffected.
Judge Gale announced the court’s ruling on the injunction would be issued by Monday, September 19.