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Kansas Official Seeks Legal Defense Funds for Anti-Choice Law Amid Budget Crisis

Teddy Wilson

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has embarked on a public relations tour promoting his signing of one of the nation’s most extreme anti-choice laws, while the state’s attorney general is asking lawmakers for funds to defend the law amid a budget crisis.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has embarked on a public relations tour promoting his signing of one of the nation’s most extreme anti-choice laws, while the state’s attorney general is asking lawmakers for funds to defend the law amid a budget crisis.

The arch-conservative governor this month signed SB 95 into law, which will make Kansas the first state in the nation to criminalize a medical procedure used after a miscarriage and during second-trimester abortions.

The new law will outlaw dilation and evacuation (D and E) abortion procedures used in 8 percent of all abortions, about 600 annually, performed in the state, reports the Topeka Capital-Journal.

The governor began the series of events Tuesday at a ceremony at the Holy Trinity Catholic church education building in Lenexa, Kansas. Ceremonies are also scheduled to take place at Catholic high schools in Pittsburg, Wichita, and Hays, reports the Associated Press.

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While the governor tours the state, attorney general Derek Schmidt told lawmakers there that defending the radical law against the almost certain legal challenges to come could cost the state as much as $450,000, according to the Associated Press.

The attorney general’s office is requesting up to $50,000 by the end of June, as the atni-choice law will go into effect July 1. Schmidt said another $100,000 to $200,000 for the rest of the fiscal year, and up to $200,000 more for the following fiscal year, could be required to defend the medically unnecessary law.

Kansas has already spent more than $1 million defending anti-choice laws against legal challenges, and has yet to lose in court.

The request for legal defense funds comes at a time when Kansas faces a major budget crisis: a $400 million budget shortfall that is only likely to increase, according to updated revenue projections, reports the Kansas City Star.

The budget crisis has followed the far-right economic agenda that Brownback has pursued since taking office, slashing taxes for the state’s wealthiest while gashing public programs.

The governor, who faced a GOP uprising before he was re-elected in November, has hedged on previously scheduled tax cuts. Brownback has expressed openness to raising taxes on alcohol and tobacco to address the shortfall. The proposal would cut the projected shortfall by less than half.

The Republican-dominated Kansas legislature appears steadfastly opposed to increasing revenue through any new taxes.

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