October 16, 2013 — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's (R) administration has spent more than $913,000 for the legal services of two private law firms to help officials defend antiabortion-rights laws that have been enacted since the governor took office in 2011, the AP/ABC News reports.
The Associated Press obtained the data from the state's Office of the Attorney General through public information requests. Of the total, more than $126,000 was spent in legal defense fees against lawsuits that challenged restrictions enacted earlier this year.
According to the AG's office, the state has paid more than $527,000 to the law firm Thompson Ramsdell & Qualseth, including more than $252,000 to defend the state in a 2011 lawsuit over regulations of medical standards and practices at abortion clinics. The state also paid Thompson about $149,000 to defend the state's restrictions on abortion coverage under the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148).
Kansas also paid the law firm Foulston Siefkin more than $386,000 to defend a state law that prohibits state allocations of federal family planning funding to Planned Parenthood.
Peter Brownlie -- president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri -- said, "It's a travesty that Kansans are spending $913,000 on things that don't benefit the state in [any way]." He added that state lawmakers appear more interested in "political posturing" than in responsible financial stewardship.
However, Mary Kay Culp -- executive director of Kansans for Life said, "It's a free country, and there's a right to sue on anything," adding, "But, then, to try to blame us for the money involved in defending the lawsuits is ridiculous" (Hanna, AP/ABC News, 10/14).