June 26, 2012 — The Kansas State Board of Healing Arts on Friday revoked a physician's medical license based on allegations that she conducted inadequate mental health exams of abortion patients when providing second opinions for the late George Tiller, the AP/Athens Banner Herald reports.
Ann Kristin Neuhaus provided the exams to comply with a Kansas law that requires abortion providers to obtain an independent second opinion concurring that patients seeking abortion care late in pregnancy would face significant and permanent harm if the pregnancy continued. Tiller -- who was one of the few physicians in the country who provided late abortions -- was shot to death by an antiabortion-rights activist in 2009.
The board accepted the findings of an administrative judge who in February said Neuhaus "seriously jeopardized" her patients' care. The case involved mental health exams conducted in 2003 on 11 patients ages 10 to 18. The judge said Neuhaus' records did not contain enough information to show she conducted thorough exams. The judge also found some patients were described as suicidal, but Neuhaus did not recommend additional treatment.
Neuhaus testified at a hearing that she did not put more details in her records to protect patients' privacy and that in some cases, she denied the request for an abortion. Neuhaus and abortion-rights groups said the board's action is part of an ongoing effort to restrict abortion access in Kansas. "It's all about abortion rights, absolutely," Neuhaus said. She plans to ask the state's courts to overturn the board's decision (Hanna, AP/Athens Banner Herald, 6/23).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership