Editor’s note: The story below has been updated to reflect that the council passed a resolution, not an ordinance. The story was also updated to reflect that there is not a set dollar amount for the reimbursement.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The city council has passed Mayor Quinton Lucas’ resolution that creates a travel reimbursement for city employees who choose to travel to another state to get an abortion.
Women who choose to do this would only get reimbursed for the travel for the procedure through the city’s insurance provider. Women would not get reimbursed for the procedure itself. The final version of the resolution does not have a set dollar amount.
“Right now, if you need a special surgery if you have some sort of challenge if you need to go to the Anderson Cancer Center in Houston or the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, in our plans right now, we find a way for you to get there,” Lucas said after the council meeting.
The closest abortion provider is Planned Parenthood in Overland Park, but travel for an abortion could become more expensive after Aug. 2, when Kansans vote on the Value Them Both amendment, which could put the abortion issue back in the hands of state lawmakers as opposed to being currently protected by the state constitution.
Lucas’ same-day resolution comes just days after Missouri became the first state in the U.S. to ban the procedure following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“This is making sure that no matter what happened last week, no matter what happens in Kansas next month, that one of our employees will always have access to life saving care and reproductive care that they had just one week ago,” Lucas continued.
The only two council members who did not support it were Northland council members Heather Hall and Dan Fowler. Fowler said he could foresee paying for somebody’s travel expenses for something outside of an abortion like cancer, too.
“I thought it would have been much more beneficial for the committee process to be used to bring that out, so everybody had a fuller understanding of what we were really trying to do,” he said.
Lucas said he’s not worried about privacy concerns when it comes to this because he said this conversation would be through a woman’s health care and insurance providers, not a woman’s boss.
Because it will be negotiated through the city’s insurance provider, it also doesn’t go into effect until after the next open enrollment period.
Lucas said he does not know how many women city employees would take advantage of this reimbursement, nor should he.