By Julie A. Burkhart
Director and Founder, Trust Women
Back in November, when conservative, anti-choice politicians took over the Kansas House,
Senate and Governor’s seat, those of us committed to reproductive health care access and
rights anticipated a tough road ahead of us. Turns out, our fears were warranted. For despite
campaigning on a soapbox of “less government intrusion/stimulate the economy/create jobs”
the—now Representatives, Senators and Governor have pulled a bait and switch on voters.
Instead of sticking to their self-proclaimed mantra, these elected officials are now trying to
intrude in private business and our private, personal decisions.
Over the past week, by way of questionable means at best (and complete disregard for the
democratic process at worst) abortion opponents sought approval of a measure that would
take away private health insurance coverage for most abortions – insurance that most woman
already have! One of the bills, SB 65, already died in the House since it was not debated by a
key deadline. Now, abortion opponents are so eager to meddle in women’s lives that they are
pushing fellow legislators to just ignore the parts of the legislative process that inconvenience
them and simply include these unjust provisions from HB 2292 in another piece of insurance
legislation. As you’re reading this, this harmful legislation has very likely already passed.
They should not do so. Not only would this legislation unfairly target women by taking away
private coverage we already have, but this extreme and intrusive legislation also prohibits
state based insurance exchanges from covering abortion unless the life of the woman is at risk.
That means a woman whose health was severely compromised or was the victim of rape or
incest would not be covered. Additionally, the bill bans any private health insurance exchange
established in Kansas under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) from including coverage for
abortion except through offering a separate premium rider for abortion services. Unfortunately,
while a rider may sound at first like a reasonable compromise, in reality it is an impractical
and onerous solution. Not only does it violate a woman’s privacy by requiring her to ask her
employer for an abortion rider, but it presumes that someone is going to plan ahead for an
abortion! The very point of insurance is to provide peace of mind for unanticipated health
issues, an abortion rider defeats that purpose.
In their haste to re-focus their energy from job creation to micro-managing women’s private
lives, these anti-choice politicians fail to realize that taking away insurance coverage does not
reduce the need for abortions; it only creates a barrier for women to access safe medical care
they need, and may force some women to resort to drastic measures. Plain and simple: All
women deserve access to safe medical care, no matter where they work. Many things can happen
during a pregnancy that is beyond a woman’s control and it’s wrong for the government to take
When insurance companies provide coverage, politicians shouldn’t interfere.
Dictating through legislation how private citizens can use their hard-earned benefits is an
intrusion deep into Kansas families’ right to make private medical decisions. A woman in
consultation with her doctor should decide if she needs an abortion—not her local elected
The women and families of Kansas deserve better.
The Trust Women Commitment
Trust Women deeply values the freedom of each woman to make her own choices about her fertility
with the support of her physician without coercion or fear of persecution from the government or any
individual. We are committed to mounting a vigorous defense of these freedoms, wherever and whenever
they must be defended to protect women’s rights. It is our intention to be proactive and forward thinking.
We will engage those who want to limit our freedoms in the political process and not wait until they’ve
closed reproductive health care clinics across America or restricted our rights through the courts.
The Trust Women Mission
Trust Women is a pro-woman, pro-choice organization that focuses on the South and Midwest. Trust
Women focuses on expanding access to full spectrum reproductive health care, builds community
involvement in reproductive health clinics, and creates model state public policies to expand abortion
care and improve maternal health. Additionally, Trust Women educates voters about candidates so they
can make informed voting decisions that will protect their reproductive freedom. During the legislative
session, Trust Women lobbies legislatures in target states in support of bills that protect the reproductive
rights of women, while working to defeat any harmful legislation that would potentially turn back the
clock on women’s rights.