News Abortion

Too Immature To Get a Mental Health Diagnosis, But Not to Give Birth?

Robin Marty

The Kansas State Board continues to examine a colleague of Dr. Tiller who provided assessments of patients' mental states.

The Kansas State Board of Healing has been holding a disciplinary hearing for Dr. Ann Neuhaus, who is being accused of negligence in her performance of mental health exams for 11 patients who received late abortions from Dr. George Tiller.

All of the patients involved in the accusation are between the ages of 10 and 18, and the prosecution brought in a physiological expert to prove that Neuhaus’ exams were not in-depth enough.  Instead, the expert seems to have proven that pregnant little girls should always give birth.

  • In case files #7 and #11, teens were assigned a mental disorder ranking equivalent to the medical emergency grounds for involuntary commitment! Yet these girls were marched off to late abortions and sent away without follow up care plans.
  • In the case file #3, Neuhaus diagnosed a 15-year-old as exhibiting “major depression, single episode.”  The girl’s stated reasons for the late abortion were, “horses are my life and having kids would mess that up for barrel racing” and she couldn’t bear “not being able to continue riding in the rodeo.”
  • In case file #2, a 10-year old victim of rape/incest categorized as suicidal was given the same numerical “impairment rating” as that of #3, an unhappy 15 year old with a boyfriend.  Gold exclaimed that it is virtually impossible for those two situations to be equivalent, much less– due to the lack of documentation and the verbal and emotional immaturity of children– to assess the true situation.
  • Girls in case files #5 and #6 were ashamed to be seen outside pregnant– an understandable, temporary condition that is not symptomatic of a psychological disorder, explained Gold. Teen #6 spoke only French, and there was no notation whether Neuhaus used a translator.

Of all of these claims, the comments in case #2 are the most disturbing.  If the children are too verbally and emotionally immature to “assess the true situation,” how could they a) be ready to give birth and b) be able to adequately participate in their own assessment in the first place?  Wouldn’t it be difficult enough to believe every girl’s ability to assess their own mental distress — let alone her ability to give birth? Additionally, that the “shame” of being seen pregnant was seen as simply a “temporary condition” gives a clear picture of the fact that the anti-choicers believe there is no such thing as a mental health exception.

Dr. Gold’s own comments, which, according to Operation Rescue were stricken from the record, also shows a disturbing lack of belief on the part of the doctor that abortion is ever allowable. 

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On cross-examination by Neuhaus’ attorney, Robert Eye, questioned Dr. Gold about standard of care for mental health evaluations for late-term abortions. Gold replied that there is no such thing. She explained, “Late term abortion is not a treatment or intervention for any psychiatric condition.” That statement was initially stricken from the record at Mr. Eye’s request, but Dr. Gold continued to repeat her opinion on the record when asked.

When questioned about whether she had ever admitted a patient to the hospital for a late-term abortion Dr. Gold responded, “It would be inappropriate for a psychiatrist to admit a patient to a hospital for abortion services.” That comment was also stricken from the record.

When asked if an unwanted pregnancy put a teen at risk for developing psychiatric disorders, Gold was emphatic.

“Teen pregnancy is not a risk factor for psychiatric disorders,” she said.

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