In a continuing effort to both curb access to abortion and reiterate their own opinion that there is never any situation where abortion could be necessary for a patient’s well-being, the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts has decided in favor of revoking Dr. Ann Neuhaus’s medical license. Neuhaus, a colleague of Dr. George Tiller, assisted him by providing second opinions for mental health exceptions for late abortions.
According to the Associated Press, Neuhaus was hoping to have her full medical license restored after spending years only allowed to provide limited medical care for charity work. Instead, an ongoing investigation into 11 patient cases obtained by Operation Rescue became the center of a movement to have her license stripped all together.
The cases all involved girls who sought abortions due to mental health issues from depression to suicide, with an age range from 17 years old to as young as 10. The board alleged that Neuhaus’s exams were not thorough enough based on the available records provided, and that her follow up care was inadequate, as she did not recommend counseling or hospitalization afterwards.
Neuhaus called the accusations ridiculous. She said she refused to put too much identifying information in the records because she knew that they could eventually end up in the hands of outsiders and violate the patients’ privacy. As for abortions not being necessary, Neuhaus found that laughable as well.
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“To even claim that isn’t medically necessary qualifies as gross incompetence,” said Neuhaus. “Someone’s 10 years old, and they were raped by their uncle and they understand that they’ve got a baby growing in their stomach and they don’t want that. You’re going to send this girl for a brain scan and some blood work and put her in a hospital?”
Sadly, the findings of the board were nearly inevitable. One of anti-choice Governor Sam Brownback’s most recent appointments to the board was Richard Macias, a former Operation Rescue attorney, showing the Governor’s obsession with getting anti-abortion activists key administrative spots for regulating the procedure. “I’m more concerned about the standard of care, particularly the aftercare,” Macias told the AP. “That’s the issue that bothers me the most.”
Standard of care is a pretty loose term for a group that believes that later abortions were being used as “birth control.” Offering their own expert witness during the board hearing, the witness claimed repeatedly that there is never any case in which providing an abortion could be seen as beneficial to a patient’s mental health.
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.
Neuhaus will appeal the ruling. If she loses, she will not only have her license permanently revoked, but also nearly $100,000 in court costs.