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Haadsma says Brown applied for the Kansas government job so his wife and their two children could be closer to her family. But Brown returned from his interview ready to work for Kline. "He just expressed that he really loved him and was excited about working with Phill Kline," Haadsma says.
Brown's boss, Steve Crampton, chief counsel for American Family Association Center for Law and Policy, describes Brown as a diligent employee with a great sense of humor and a willingness to help his coworkers outside the office. Specifically, Crampton says, Brown helped him keep his Chrysler New Yorker running.
And despite what news archives and the American Family Association Web site show, Brown did work on a couple of cases in line with his new job, including one for a "widowed, single mother" who had bought a problematic new car, Crampton says.
"In fact, Bryan had done a case or two that would have been right in the middle of that sort of consumer protection work," Crampton says. "I'd say Bryan has a particular heart for that sort of need in people. It's a little of the crusader, David against Goliath mentality."
Brown might have been pleasantly surprised with what happened in his adopted state during his ten-year absence. Since his departure in 1993, Kansas politics have centered more and more on abortion.
The Republican Party that dominates the state has seen its ranks filled with anti-abortion devotees, a takeover encouraged by the Johnson County-based group Kansans for Life. Beginning in the early 1990s, anti-abortion candidates began showing up on ballots for Republican precinct committees, which help supervise the primaries and choose the delegates who in turn choose the state party chair.
Over the past decade, conservative political newcomers -- including Kline -- have risen in state government. They now dominate the Kansas House of Representatives and have a significant voice in the Senate. With his election as attorney general, Kline now has the power to do something more than introduce anti-abortion bills that never get signed into law.
Legislators have floated dozens of those bills. Some would have required more inspection and regulation of clinics; others would have required pregnant minors to get counseling before they could have abortions. Another made it to Governor Bill Graves' desk, but he vetoed sending money from a special surcharge on "Choose Life" license plates to Kansans for Life, which planned to use the money to discourage women from having abortions.
These efforts have regularly passed in the House. But in the past, the more moderate Senate usually defeated them -- at least until this session, when both houses approved a bill that would have required abortion clinics to be licensed by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and comply with a long list of new standards. Governor Kathleen Sebelius vetoed it in April.
"We've had this bill every year I've been in the legislature, and it's never gotten out of the Senate," says Rick Rehorn, a pro-choice representative from Wyandotte County who's held office for four years.
Though the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision ensured that abortions would remain legal, later cases empowered states to regulate abortion clinics.
Roe v. Wade established that states could place certain restrictions on second- and third-trimester abortions; Kansas law allows third-trimester abortions when the procedure is required to protect the mother's health. Since 1979, Kansas attorneys general have interpreted that law liberally to include the mental health of the mother.