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"My conclusion was both the physical health and mental health of the mother must be considered," says Bob Stephan, who served from 1979 until 1995 (and whose interpretation was shared by Carla Stovall, who served until January of this year). "There are some that think differently about that," Stephan says, "and General Kline may think it doesn't apply to the mental health of the mother."
George Tiller continues to practice at his Wichita clinic. "Make absolutely no mistake," he says. "Bryan Brown is nobody's fool. He is a very bright, energetic, articulate individual. He is not to be taken lightly. He is not to be dismissed frivolously." But Tiller says he can't spend time worrying about what might happen to his practice while Kline is attorney general. "I practice medicine within the guidelines and within the letter of the law of Kansas. That's what I have done for the entirety of my career. I am powerless over Phill Kline and Bryan Brown," he says.
During his first four months on the job, Brown has been working to reorganize his department, spokesman Bill Hoyt says. From his office across the street from the state capitol, Brown has met with his 23 employees and devoted time to a new task force that will teach senior citizens and people with mental and physical disabilities how to avoid being ripped off. In his brief introductory press conference, Brown insisted he would not have anything to do with enforcing laws regarding abortion clinics.
So far, Kline has kept a low profile on the abortion front. "What I believe Phill Kline will do is enforce the law as the law reads currently, not what he wants it to read," says Patricia Barbieri-Lightner, a state representative from Johnson County who helped run Kline's campaign for attorney general.
But Kline has an assignment ahead of him. The Kansas House of Representatives has directed him to sue the state, arguing before the Kansas Supreme Court that life begins as soon as sperm meets egg.
The resolution insists that "unborn children of the state of Kansas have an equal and inalienable right to life from conception." House members passed it last year -- then amended it to make sure nothing was done about it until Stovall was out of office.
"Carla would have just simply ignored it, and it would have gone nowhere ... it just would have been a nothing thing with her," says Barbieri-Lightner, one of the bill's 41 cosponsors.
The suit would be a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.