North Dakota is not the only state willing to spend a significant amount of money defending unconstitutional abortion restrictions. According to reports, the Alabama attorney general’s office plans to pay two medical experts between $300 and $385 an hour to defend the state’s admitting privileges law, which has been temporarily put on hold until early next year.
Attorneys for the state have reportedly hired Dr. James C. Anderson, a Virginia-based physician, and John Thorp, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, to help the state argue the restrictions are necessary. Both Anderson and Thorp are well-known within the anti-abortion activist community and serve as experts in Mississippi’s attempts to close the state’s lone clinic. In that case, Anderson and Thorpe filed affidavits in support of the state’s admitting privileges law, reportedly duplicating arguments made in that case in the case pending in Alabama.
The contracts for the two experts are reportedly capped at $80,000, which includes an expense allowance of $7,500. While the fee structure and amount is not unheard of, in a state where over a quarter of children live below the poverty line, spending $80,000 to pay experts to help defend a law designed to take health-care services away from poor people has been interpreted as particularly mean-spirited.