Kansas has paid more than $913,000 to two private law firms that are helping the state defend anti-abortion laws enacted since conservative Republican governor Sam Brownback took office – and such expenses appear likely to grow.
The attorney general's office disclosed the figures in response to requests from the Associated Press. More than $126,000 in legal fees stem from two lawsuits filed this summer against restrictions enacted just this year.
Kansas has enacted sweeping limits on abortion and providers since Brownback took office in January 2011, though it hasn't attempted to ban abortions in the earliest weeks of pregnancies, as Arkansas and North Dakota have. The newest Kansas restrictions, challenged in separate state and federal lawsuits this summer, block tax breaks for abortion providers and even govern what appears on their websites.
A state-court lawsuit is still pending against health and safety regulations approved in 2011 specifically for abortion clinics, but the state prevailed in a federal lawsuit against 2011 restrictions on private health insurance coverage for elective abortions. All of those cases have been handled by the firm of Thompson Ramsdell & Qualseth, of Lawrence.