NRL News

The Truth behind Kansas’ abortion lawsuits’ legal fees

by | Jan 18, 2012

By Kathy Ostrowski, Kansans for Life Legislative Director

Abortion supporters continue their hypocritical complaints that Kansas has already spent nearly $480,000 in legal fees defending three pro-life laws enacted in 2011.   But it’s those very abortion supporters that are forcing that drain in state resources, for profit and ideological motives, plain and simple.

Let’s look at the three lawsuits and examine what is really at stake.

1. The family planning funding prioritization is a new measure, attempted this year in differing forms by a half dozen states, with Kansas having arguably the strongest legal ground.  Wichita Judge Thomas Marten placed the law on hold by injunction and ordered supplemental money sent to the three businesses that did not meet the new criteria. The Kansas Attorney General has appealed those actions to the 10th Circuit appellate court, and a ruling on the merits of the appeal is expected at any time.

This lawsuit was filed because financially-failing Planned Parenthood branches in Wichita and Hays, and one independent business in Dodge City, were not going to get nearly $375,000 in Title X state subsidies under the new law. No services formerly provided to Kansas women were being eliminated.  In fact, the only change was that the state would only contract for reimbursements with public clinics serving the poor, and in fact, would provide BETTER access to a full range of health care.

2. The law banning coverage of elective abortion in private insurance plans without a separately purchased rider, is not new. It survived past court challenges and has operated in other states, like Missouri, for decades. Part of eastern Kansas has been covered this way by Blue Cross during that time! This law is operating without an injunction, but is headed for trial next year.

This law was sued by the ACLU ostensibly on behalf of unspecified women who can’t afford to pay for their own abortions.  But the suit is really a steppingstone. The ACLU is still searching for courts willing to rule that abortion is healthcare that must be paid for under the constitutional guarantee of “equal protection.”

Although abortion lawyers have pressed this “gender equality” argument unsuccessfully for decades, they are back at it again, at OUR taxpayer expense.

3. The third lawsuit (actually a series of three suits) has blocked the new law instituting state licensure, oversight, and inspection of abortion businesses, sought by Kansans since 2002. Currently there are only three abortion sites in Kansas, all in the Kansas City area, although there are threats to open a new one in Wichita this summer.

After a public fuss (and a suit they filed and then dropped), the Overland Park Planned Parenthood met the new minimum standards for licensure. The other two clinics didn’t, and sued the preliminary agency regulations from the state health department, while securing an injunction. So the law is not currently in effect.

Note: The same pro-abortion voices complaining loudly about the expenditure of legal fees themselves wasted a bundle when they filed suit in federal court in July and then switched their game plan to file suit in state court in November. Last week, lawyers for the two clinics formally dropped the first lawsuit and are itemizing months of legal expenses which will get paid by state taxpayers, if the abortion team prevails in the newer suit.

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