In the last two years alone, Kansas has spent nearly $1 million defending its legislative assaults on reproductive health care.
According to the Associated Press, since Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback first took office, the state has paid more than $913,000 to two private law firms the state has hired to help with the legal defense of his extreme anti-choice agenda. Of the nearly $1 million in legal fees, more than $126,000 are related to two lawsuits filed in response to restrictions enacted this year. Those restrictions block tax credits for abortion providers and dictate disclosures on their websites. Legal challenges to Kansas’ targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) law is also still pending while a federal lawsuit against a 2011 law that blocks the state from distributing federal family planning dollars to Planned Parenthood is currently pending before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Kansas joins both North Dakota and Alabama, which also have legal bills piling up. In August, officials from Alabama disclosed that they expected to spend at least $80,000 in expert witness fees alone defending the state’s TRAP law. In North Dakota, lawmakers have set aside approximately $400,000 to defend the various anti-abortion measured passed within the last two legislative sessions. And in Idaho, a federal judge ordered the state to pay more than $376,000 to attorneys for Jennie Linn McCormack, the Pocatello woman who was unsuccessfully prosecuted for a felony because police claim she gave herself an illegal abortion. Prior to those fees, the state had already spent approximately $365,000 defending other anti-abortion laws and was ordered to pay an additional $446,000 in attorneys fees to plaintiffs in those cases.
Between North Dakota, Alabama, Idaho, and Kansas, conservative administrations have made it clear they are willing to run up as many bills at taxpayers’ expense as is needed in the name of cutting off access to reproductive health care. Those bills have, within the last two years alone, added up to millions of dollars. And that’s just four states. Wisconsin, Texas, Mississippi, Iowa, Ohio, Virginia, and Arkansas have also defended at least one lawsuit related to abortion restrictions passed in the last two legislative sessions, and so far those legal expenses have not yet been disclosed.
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