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Kan. Board To Reconsider Revoked Medical License of Former Tiller Colleague

Kan. Board To Reconsider Revoked Medical License of Former Tiller Colleague

December 4, 2014 — Kansas' medical board has scheduled a hearing for Dec. 11 to consider whether to reinstate the medical license of physician Ann Kristin Neuhaus, who has been accused by abortion-rights opponents of violating a state law, the AP/Washington Times reports.

Earlier this year, a county judge overturned the Kansas Board of Healing Arts' decision to revoke Neuhaus' license and sent the case back to the board. However, the judge upheld the board's finding that she had kept inadequate records. Neuhaus currently has a license to provide charity care but is seeking to have her full medical license reinstated (Hanna, AP/Washington Times, 12/2).

Background

Neuhaus' medical license was revoked in 2012 based on allegations that she conducted inadequate exams of abortion patients when providing second opinions for the late George Tiller. Neuhaus conducted the exams to comply with a Kansas law that requires abortion providers to obtain an independent second opinion, concurring that patients seeking abortion care later in pregnancy would face significant and permanent harm if the pregnancy continued. Tiller -- one of a few physicians in the country who provided later abortions -- was shot and killed by an antiabortion-rights activist in 2009.

In his order for the board to reconsider its decision, Shawnee County District Judge Franklin Theis wrote that although Neuhaus' record keeping did not meet "any reasonably required standard of care," a conclusion by a former state hearing officer that she provided inadequate care relied "solely on an inference" from problems with the records. Theis added that "such an inference is too slim, too frail and too conjectural to support any of [the hearing officer's] conclusions reached beyond a breach of adequate record keeping" (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/12).

Latest Arguments

A disciplinary panel's staff attorneys last month filed a brief arguing that Neuhaus' full medical license should not be reinstated. Attorneys Reese Hays and Jessica Bryson argued in the brief that Neuhaus "has shown neither remorse nor any consciousness of the wrongfulness of her misconduct" and that she has "a pattern of misconduct."

Meanwhile, Neuhaus' attorney Bob Eye said Tuesday that the sway of an "anti-choice clique" within the Kansas government is "the elephant in the living room" in the case and has "probably strengthened [Neuhaus'] view about protecting a woman's right to choose, because it's under attack" (AP/Washington Times, 12/2).