The state of Kansas has spent close to $1 million defending its pro-life laws against abortion groups filing lawsuits in recent years. Although several media outlets are criticizing the state for spending so much money on defending their laws, pro-life groups argue that it is "ridiculous" to blame the state when the lawsuits are being filed by pro-abortion groups.
"It's a free country, and there's a right to sue on anything," Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, a pro-life group, told The Associated Press of the criticism. "But, then, to try to blame us for the money involved in defending the lawsuits is ridiculous," she added.
At the request of The Associated Press, the state's attorney general's office disclosed that it had paid more than $913,000 to two private law firms to defend the state's anti-abortion laws. The firm of Thompson Ramsdell & Qualseth has handled some cases, while Foulston Siefkin, the state's largest firm, has handled other cases.
Some of the lawsuits filed by pro-abortion groups are still pending in court, and therefore the expenses for the private firms are likely to grow. The lawsuits stem back to 2011, when Republican Governor Sam Brownback took office and introduced legislation meant to strengthen abortion regulation in the state. Two lawsuits relating to the state's abortion laws were just filed this past summer and have already cost $126,000 to defend.
One abortion law being challenged in court includes the requirement for abortion providers to post certain disclosures on their websites for women seeking abortions. One such disclosure informs women that it is possible that a baby can feel pain from 20 weeks of pregnancy. Another state measure being challenged in court blocks tax credits for abortion providers. A federal lawsuit against a 2011 law is also pending in the appeals court that blocks the state's Planned Parenthood from receiving federal family planning dollars.
Regional Planned Parenthood president Peter Brownlie told KMBZ that legislators acted irresponsibly when they passed pro-life legislation from 2011 onward, as they allegedly knew the laws would eventually be challenged in court. "Many legislators knew at the time that they passed these laws, either they were unconstitutional or had been ruled against in other states," Brownlie told the local news station.
Brownlie added to the Associated Press that he believes legislators who passed these abortion laws are more concerned about "political posturing" than they are the financial stability of their state.
Although Kansas has enacted strict pro-life laws that seek to strengthen abortion regulations in the state, it has yet to pass a law that will limit abortions in the early stages of pregnancy, as North Dakota already has.