April 29, 2015 — Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R) has told state legislators it could cost the state up to $450,000 to defend a state law (SB 95) banning a certain type of abortion procedure, the AP/Oklahoman reports.
According to the AP/Oklahoman, the state attorney general's office has paid $1.2 million in attorney fees to defend other abortion restrictions enacted since 2011, when Gov. Sam Brownback (R) took office. The state has not lost any of the challenges (AP/Oklahoman, 4/27).
The law, which was drafted by the National Right to Life Committee and takes effect July 1, will permit exceptions only if continuing the pregnancy would result in the death or irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function. The law does not include exceptions for cases of incest or rape. It also does not include an exception if a woman is experiencing mental health issues.
Physicians who violate the law will face misdemeanor charges for a first offense and felony charges for violations thereafter (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/8).
According to the AP/Oklahoman, Schmidt has requested the funds amid comments from abortion providers in the state indicating that they are weighing legal challenges against the law.
The funding requests were detailed last week in budget proposals prepared for state lawmakers by several state agencies. Specifically, Schmidt said his office might need as much as $50,000 by the end of June to defend the law. In addition, he said the office could need $100,000 to $200,000 in the fiscal year that starts July 1 and another $200,000 for the following fiscal year.
Laura McQuade, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, said the budget request shows that Schmidt's office knows the law "has constitutional problems." She added that Brownback's administration "ignored the health, legal and medical implications of this [law]."
Meanwhile, Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, urged opponents to "leave [the law] alone," adding that the state "wouldn't have to pay a penny if nobody sued" (AP/Oklahoman, 4/27).