WICHITA, KANSAS, April 3, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Abortion rates released by the Kansas state health department show that, amidst a flurry of new pro-life legislation and abortion clinic closures, the abortion rate has dropped by almost one-third in five years.

State figures show the number of abortions performed statewide has fallen 30 percent since 2006. Statewide 7,851 abortions were performed in 2011, down from 11,271 five years earlier.

While the lives saved are priceless, the gains have come with a steep financial price tag. The state’s taxpayers have paid just under $597,000 in legal fees since January to defend a series of pro-life laws from legal challenges made by pro-abortion organizations. Those laws include new health regulations for clinics, restricted elective abortion coverage by insurance, and the defunding of Planned Parenthood.

The state paid $392,250 in legal fees during the last six months of 2011.

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Kathy Ostrowski of Kansans for Life told local media, “There may be a direct reason 600 fewer women even stepped inside Kansas abortion clinics – the existence of the best state ‘Woman’s Right to Know’ website in the nation.”

Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, told LifeSiteNews.com that he believes “the falling abortion numbers are a direct result of grass roots activism that marginalizes abortion and those who commit it.”

“Closed abortion mills translate into saved babies,” he said.

“Operation Rescue moved to Kansas in 2002 with the vision to see an abortion free state,” Newman recounted. Its activism has helped close three abortion clinics in short succession. “We then purchased an abortion business and evicted the tenants,” Newman said.

After George Tiller’s murder, “our work kept it from reopening with Leroy Carhart. Now we have three mills.”

Newman said while legislation is important, so far his state’s bills are caught in pending litigation, and their effect is primarily psychological.

Until the laws are active, he said, the pro-life movement should “vilify the abortion cartel. Catch them breaking the law. Then pass strict laws that close them down.”