Abortion debate continues in Kansas

Ultrasound (KSN File Photo)

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WICHITA, Kansas – It was 41 years ago Wednesday when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision legalizing abortion. The same day, state leaders confirm defending Kansas’s anti-abortion laws cost taxpayers more than $1 million over the last three years.

On the anniversary of Roe v Wade, Kansas abortion opponents continue to rally against the decision. In Topeka, a state senator pushing for stricter abortion laws hoped to show members of the public health and welfare committee how ultrasounds can influence women to not have abortions.

A meeting room at the state capitol looked more like a hospital room when a pair of women had ultrasounds performed. It’s part of anti-abortion protests organized by republican lawmakers. Pro-life advocate Donna Lipoldt says the demonstration proved a point.

“If Roe v Wade was argued today, it never would have passed,” Lipoldt said.

This is just the latest example of the battle over abortion laws in Kansas.

“It was a stunt, this is a modern world, who hasn’t seen an ultrasound?” said pro-choice advocate Vickie Sandell Stangl.

The controversial laws have been challenged in court several times. The attorney general’s office confirms the cost to taxpayers– more than one million dollars paid out to attorneys defending the state against lawsuits brought on by Planned Parenthood and other groups.  That includes $179,000 for lawyer’s fees in a state and federal suit filed over laws passed last year.

“Whoever is challenging the abortion laws ought to  have to pay the legal fees, we give so much money to planned parenthood already and we feel like that is unconstitutional  and it wouldn’t really matter how much money it was if it saved one baby’s life,” said Lipoldt.

“It’s just full of baloney; I mean talk about a group that are masters in manipulating the legal system,” said Sandell Stangel.

But pro-choice proponents like Sandell Stangl say those who passed the laws knew their choices could end up costing taxpayers a lot of money.

“The legislature forced this into the courts they were told many times by legal experts if you pass this law it’s going to be challenged,” Sandell Stangl said.

If this latest example is any indication, lawmakers aren’t done pushing for stricter abortion law, meaning the million dollar legal bills will likely keep coming.

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