February 23, 2012 — A Kansas state administrative judge has ordered the revocation of Ann Kristen Neuhaus' medical license, saying she inappropriately assessed the mental health of young girls seeking abortion care later in pregnancy from George Tiller, the AP/CBS News reports. Tiller was murdered by an antiabortion-rights activist in 2009.
Per Kansas law in 2003, Tiller was required to obtain an opinion from another physician before providing abortion care after 22 weeks' gestation. Exceptions were granted if the patient's life was at risk or she would have "substantial and irreversible" harm to "a major bodily function," such as mental faculties. The state has since eliminated the exception for mental health.
According to Judge Ed Gaschler's order, Neuhaus failed to meet acceptable care standards when performing mental health examinations on 11 patients ages 10 to 18 who received abortion care from Tiller between July 2003 and November 2003.
Neuhaus had said the patients' mental health issues were serious enough to allow them to receive abortion care from Tiller. However, when considering a complaint filed in 2010 by a litigation attorney with the state Board of Healing Arts, Gaschler said Neuhaus did not adequately document the reasons behind her diagnoses and her reports on the patients did not cite patient statements or data from her examinations.
The Board of Healing Arts now will review Gaschler's order. If it decides to make the judge's order final, Neuhaus still could file a legal challenge.
Julie Burkhart -- founder of the abortion-rights group Trust Women and a former Tiller employee -- questioned the handling of the case, asking whether Neuhaus could receive a fair hearing from the Board of Healing Arts, with abortion-rights opponent Gov. Sam Brownback (R) in office. "There's a political agenda here, and it seems that Dr. Neuhaus is the one who can be brought before the board and punished," she said, adding, "The agenda is to discredit her" (Hanna, AP/CBS News, 2/21).