Kansas pro-lifers got good news from a federal court May 18th: two Kansas city-area abortion clinics will have to pay their own attorney fees of over $220 thousand dollars without Kansas’ taxpayer reimbursement. Judge Carlos Marguia ruled the clinics had not “prevailed on the merits,” and thus did not qualify for state reimbursement.
Attorneys from the Center for Women’s Health (CWH) and Aid for Women (AFW) had been petitioning for state payment of their attorney fees incurred when the clinics filed to halt both the new state abortion facility licensure law and the provisional clinic regulations written by the Kansas health department (KDHE).
The clinics had sought a permanent injunction in a rushed proceeding July 1, 2011 in front of federal Judge Murguia, claiming irreparable harm would ensue if the law went into effect that day. Judge Murguia awarded only a temporary injunction, largely in order to “maintain the status quo” while issues moved forward.
In November 2011, KDHE issued permanent abortion facility regulations, using a slightly modified version of the original set. Both clinics dropped the federal lawsuit, but the injunction was retained and the lawsuit was refiled in state court by only one clinic CWH (the business of abortionists Herb Hodes and Traci Nauser).
The office of Attorney General Derek Schmidt had filed motions in opposition to paying all the abortion attorneys involved, arguing they were not entitled because such reimbursement is available for “claimants who had prevailed on the merits” in civil rights cases. [Yes, this is a civil rights case because (hold your groans) one of the claims is that clinic regulation violates a woman’s civil right to obtain an abortion.]
Beyond ineligibility for reimbursement, the Attorney General claimed national and local abortion attorneys had inflated billable hours and wage rates to make a “windfall” off of Kansas taxpayers. The irony is evident: abortion advocates have been complaining that the defense of pro-life laws is a wasteful depletion of the treasury, and then their own attorneys try to rip-off that same treasury!
Thankfully, that won’t happen at this juncture, due to the litigators working for the AG office.