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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

September-13-11

Hearing Begins Against KS Doctor for Abortion Referrals

On Monday, a disciplinary hearing began in Kansas for Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus, to determine whether she performed adequate mental health examinations on 11 patients (ages 10 to 18) before referring them to Dr. George Tiller for late-term abortions in 2003. The complaint was filed by an Operation Rescue staffer in 2006 before the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts. Operation Rescue staff have filed medical board complaints against a number of abortion doctors across the country, including Dr. George Tiller and Dr. Lee Carhart.

Dr. Neuhaus maintains that she complied with accepted standard of care, conducting face-to-face interviews with each patient. The witness against Dr. Neuhaus, a psychiatrist from Virginia, said that Dr. Neuhaus should have referred the younger patients to an adolescent psychiatrist before determining that an abortion was appropriate. Dr. Neuhaus' attorney said that she "was not a rubber stamp for abortion on demand" but treated each patient as an individual.

Kansas law prohibits late-term abortions except where the pregnant woman's life or health are at great risk, which in 2003 included substantial risk to her mental health. The Associated Press, reported that Neuhaus had diagnosed these young patients with "anxiety disorder, acute stress disorder and single-episode major depression" and had approved their abortions.

According to the Houston Chronicle, testimony and attorneys' arguments will be delivered during the next four days, and it will likely take several more weeks for a board-appointed hearing officer to issue a decision. The 15-member board will then review the decision and determine whether to impose sanctions on Dr. Neuhaus.


Media Resources: Houston Chronicle 9/12/11; KSN TV 9/11/11; Associated Press 9/12/11


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