November 20, 2012 — A federal judge on Friday ruled that a Kansas physician will not have to post bond while she pursues litigation over the loss of her medical license, which was revoked based on allegations involving her work with the late George Tiller, the AP/ San Francisco Chronicle reports (Hanna, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 11/16).
Ann Kristin Neuhaus conducted exams of Tiller's abortion patients to comply with a Kansas law that requires abortion providers to obtain an independent second opinion confirming that a patient seeking abortion care late in pregnancy would face significant and permanent harm if the pregnancy continued. Tiller -- one of a few physicians in the country who provided late abortions -- was shot to death by an antiabortion-rights activist in 2009.
The Kansas State Board of Healing Arts in June accepted the earlier findings of an administrative judge who said Neuhaus "seriously jeopardized" her patients' care and revoked her license. The case involved mental health exams conducted in 2003 on 11 patients ages 10 to 18 (Women's Health Policy Report, 9/7). Neuhaus, who disputes the allegations, filed a lawsuit in an attempt to regain her license.
Details of Decision
U.S. District Judge Franklin Theis rejected the board's request that Neuhaus post a nearly $93,000 bond, instead requiring that she sign a statement saying she will pay the full amount of any judgment issued by the court. Theis noted that the board stated in its revocation order that it would not require Neuhaus to pay any costs until the court challenge is resolved.
Neuhaus' attorneys had argued that because of her inability to practice medicine, she could not afford to post more than about $100 and that granting the board's request would deny her legal right to appeal its decision. Meanwhile, Kelli Stevens -- the board's general counsel -- countered that the board could be forced to absorb the costs related to the suit because it has no guarantee Neuhaus will cover them (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 11/16).