AG charges Wichita abortion doctor with 19 misdemeanors
Allegations tied to relationship with former Lawrence physician
Topeka ? Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus, who used to operate an abortion clinic in Lawrence, is at the center of 19 misdemeanor charges filed Thursday that accuse Dr. George Tiller of violating the state law that restricts late-term abortions.
The announcement of charges by Attorney General Paul Morrison ended a six-month investigation that fueled a political storm between anti-abortion advocates and those who support abortion rights.
Morrison dumped his predecessor’s charges against Tiller, saying former Attorney General Phill Kline botched the investigation in his zeal to prosecute Tiller for political purposes.
Instead, Morrison filed new and different charges.
“It was clear, after looking at this case, Kline’s investigation of Dr. Tiller was not about enforcing the law. It was about pushing a political agenda,” Morrison said.
Kline, a Republican and ardent abortion opponent, was defeated in November by Morrison, a Democrat who supports abortion rights.
Kline said the new charges against Tiller vindicated his investigation.
“The noise level generated by name calling, backed by millions of dollars of abortion money, has not been able to silence the truth, reflected in the evidence that I obtained,” he said.
Alleged financial ties
But Morrison said in his review of the evidence, his office found something that Kline missed.
Under Kansas law, abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy are illegal unless two physicians determine that continuation of the pregnancy threatens the life or health of the mother.
The two determining physicians cannot have any legal or financial ties, according to the law.
Morrison alleges that Neuhaus, of Nortonville, who was consulted as the second physician of record in 19 of the reviewed abortions, had financial ties to Tiller.
“They can’t be in cahoots legally or financially,” Morrison said, although he declined to elaborate on the allegation.
“We’re alleging there was a financial relationship between the two,” he said.
Tiller’s attorneys – Lee Thompson and Dan Monnant – issued a statement saying: “Today’s announcement simply involves a difference of opinion between lawyers regarding unusual technicalities in Kansas abortion law procedure.”
Neuhaus could not be reached for comment. One phone number for her went unanswered. An attorney who has represented her in the past did not return a phone call.
Neuhaus’ former clinic
Abortion opponents have said that Neuhaus has been the second physician for a long time who would help OK late-term abortions, and that if there was an illegal financial relationship with Tiller, Morrison’s investigation should be expanded.
But Morrison said he wouldn’t do that.
Of Neuhaus, he said, “We do know what she is doing now, and I don’t really want to get into that, but let me just say, at this point she is not a concern.”
She operated an abortion clinic from 1997 to 2002 at 205 W. Eighth St. in Lawrence.
Neuhaus said she had to close the clinic because of debt incurred from several weeks of inactivity in 2001 after the Kansas Board of Healing Arts began investigating an allegation that Neuhaus performed an abortion on a patient who had withdrawn consent. The charge was never substantiated.
Earlier in 2001, she stopped keeping hours at a Wichita clinic, citing a combination of protests, threats and finances.
The attorney general’s charges against Tiller were filed in Sedgwick County where Tiller operates an abortion clinic.
Tiller was charged because he was the one performing the abortions, Morrison said.
Morrison described the allegations as “technical violations.” They carry a maximum punishment of up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
Morrison’s announcement also opened a new round of political sniping.
Morrison said Kline’s investigation contained numerous errors and inaccurate documents and withheld exculpatory evidence. Kline denied the accusations.
After his defeat but before he left office, Kline filed 30 charges against Tiller, alleging the physician performed illegal abortions and failed to properly report those procedures to state officials. A judge dismissed the charges on jurisdictional grounds.
Morrison charges Tiller with 19 misdemeanors
Topeka (ap) – Here are details of the 19 misdemeanor charges filed Thursday in Sedgwick County District Court against Dr. George Tiller by Attorney General Paul Morrison.
All counts allege that Tiller performed a late-term abortion “without a documented referral from a physician with whom he was not legally or financially affiliated,” as required by Kansas Statute 65-6703.
All abortions were performed in 2003. Each charge is punished by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
Count 1: Date of abortion was July 21; patient was 24 and in her 29th week of pregnancy.
Count 2: July 22; patient, 14 and in 26th week. This abortion also was the subject of counts 1 and 2 in a case filed in December against Tiller by then-Attorney General Phill Kline. That case was dismissed for jurisdictional reasons.
Count 3: July 8; patient, 10 and in 28th week. Kline counts 3 and 4.
Count 4: Aug. 5; patient, 15 and in 26th week. Kline counts 13 and 14.
Count 5: Aug. 5; patient, 15 and in 28th week. Kline counts 15 and 16.
Count 6: Aug. 12; patient, 15 and in 25th week. Kline counts 17 and 18.
Count 7: Aug. 25; patient, 24 and in 30th week.
Count 8: Aug. 26; patient, 14 and in 25th week. Kline counts 23 and 24.
Count 9: Sept. 9; patient, 15 and in 25th week. Kline counts 25 and 26.
Count 10: Sept. 9; patient, 14 and in 26th week.
Count 11: Sept. 23; patient, 16 and in 30th week.
Count 12: Oct. 22; patient, 22 and in 29th week.
Count 13: Oct. 27; patient, 20 and in 27th week.
Count 14: Sept. 9; patient, 19 and in 29th week.
Count 15: Nov. 4; patient, 13 and in 25th week. Kline counts 29 and 30.
Count 16: Nov. 18; patient 15 and in 25th week.
Count 17: Nov. 4; patient, 15 and in 25th week. Kline counts 21 and 22.
Count 18: Nov. 4; patient, 18 and in 25th week. Kline counts 27 and 28.
Count 19: Nov. 18; patient 16 and in 29th week. Kline counts 7 and 8.