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Topeka, KS – The Kansas Board of Healing Arts set a hearing date yesterday in the case of abortionist Ann Kristin Neuhaus, who signed off on late-term abortions for George Tiller at his infamous clinic in Wichita, Kansas. The Board has charged Neuhaus with a range of violations, including failure to provide adequate patient evaluations and shoddy record-keeping for eleven patients who received post-viability abortions by Tiller in 2003.
Neuhaus will face an evidentiary hearing before the Board on January 11, 2011. While Neuhaus faces no criminal charges, Board discipline could include license suspension or revocation.
Kansas law bans abortions after viability, or 22 weeks, unless continuation of the pregnancy endangers the life or presents “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function” of the woman. This law has been interpreted to include mental health exceptions, as long as the condition meets the standard of “substantial and irreversible” impairment to the woman’s mental health. A second referring physician must concur that the abortions meet the strict exceptions in the law.
Between July 22 and November 18, 2003, the dates for the abortions of the eleven patients listed in the Board’s disciplinary petition, Neuhaus was the only person who provided those referrals. Each referral was based on mental health exceptions.
The eleven records contained one diagnosis of “Anxiety Disorder,” three diagnoses of “Acute Stress Disorder,” six instances of “Major Depressive Disorder, Single Episode.” One 13-year old patient who was 25 weeks pregnant had no specific psychiatric diagnosis listed to justify her exception to the Kansas law banning post-viability abortions.
None of those abortions met the standard of “substantial and irreversible” mental health impairments, according to Dr. Paul McHugh, a highly respected expert in psychiatry with Johns Hopkins University Hospital who reviewed the abortion records and submitted an affidavit on his findings at the request of then-Attorney General Phill Kline, whose office was investigating abortion abuses. McHugh later stated in an interview that it was his opinion that information in the records was inadequate to come to any psychiatric diagnosis, and that he could see no case among the files he examined in which a late-term abortion could be justified under Kansas law on psychiatric grounds. (Watch the McHugh Interview)
Since the abortions did not meet the legal standard of presenting “substantial and irreversible” mental health risks, it would have been illegal and unethical for Neuhaus to sign off on them.
“The Board must consider the severity of rubber stamping abortions on viable babies that the laws were designed to protect. It is tantamount to signing a death warrant for these babies that could survive, if birthed. The fact that she did so in such a negligent way makes the needless deaths of these babies even more unconscionable,” said Operation Rescue spokesperson Cheryl Sullenger, who filed the complaint with the Board that resulted in the disciplinary petition against Neuhaus.
While Tiller’s clinic is now closed and Neuhaus appears to be taking a professional hiatus, Operation Rescue has no doubt that under the right circumstances, Neuhaus will go back to the abortion business in some capacity if she is allowed to keep her medical license. That would present an unacceptable danger to the public.
“The Board has disciplined Neuhaus twice before with half-measures that have failed to persuade her to amend her ways. Her attitude has remained one of defiance. The only thing that will stop her from further victimizing women and babies is full license revocation. We pray that the Board will agree to do that at the January hearing,” said Sullenger.
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