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Archive for Saturday, June 30, 2007

Doctor denies having financial ties with Tiller

June 30, 2007

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— An attorney for Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus on Friday said she had no financial relationship with Dr. George Tiller in consulting on late-term abortions.

"Dr. Neuhaus wasn't paid anything by Dr. Tiller," said Jack Focht of Wichita. "She didn't have any financial relationship with him."

On Thursday, Attorney General Paul Morrison filed 19 misdemeanor charges against Tiller, alleging that he violated the late-term abortion law involving abortions in 2003. Tiller has denied any wrongdoing.

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.

But Focht said that wasn't the case.

"He (Tiller) did not pay her for those referrals. I think he (Morrison) is making a strained interpretation of the law," Focht said.

Neuhaus has long ties to the Lawrence area. She operated an abortion clinic from 1997 to 2002 at 205 W. Eighth St.

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Kansas Board of Healing Arts began investigating an allegation that Neuhaus performed an abortion on a patient who had withdrawn consent.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.

In that case, under an agreement with the board, Neuhaus was told to comply with existing state laws on sedating and monitoring patients, keeping proper medical records and informing patients about the probable gestational ages of their fetuses. The agreement also ordered Neuhaus to use a more detailed consent form.

When Morrison was asked to elaborate on his allegation about a financial relationship between Tiller and Neuhaus, he declined.

Focht said it was his understanding that Neuhaus received payments from patients for consultations.

"There were a number of patients that she didn't agree with Dr. Tiller, and they didn't get late-term abortions," he said.

Focht confirmed that Neuhaus had been granted immunity from prosecution in an investigation into Tiller by Morrison's predecessor Phill Kline, who forced her to testify in a deposition.

Kline had listed Neuhaus as a witness in his case. Anti-abortion advocates had stated previously that Neuhaus would testify against Tiller.

Focht said Neuhaus wasn't "a turncoat witness. We were offended," by those statements.

Kline's charges, brought after he was defeated by Morrison but before he left office, were dismissed by a Sedgwick County court on jurisdictional issues. He had accused Tiller of not having sufficient grounds to conduct 15 late-term abortions, and failing to report details of those to state health officials.

Upon taking office, Morrison started an investigation, saying that Kline, an ardent opponent of abortion rights, had botched the case and engaged in unethical conduct in his zeal to score political points by prosecuting Tiller. Kline has denied the accusations and says that Morrison's charges in part validate his efforts to pursue Tiller.

Meanwhile, Larry Buening, executive director of the Kansas Board of Healing Arts, which regulates health care professionals, said his agency would be determining soon whether it should open an investigation of its own.

"We would be very interested in how this is resolved," Buening said.

The charges against Tiller are Class A misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Morrison said the charges were filed against Tiller because he performed the abortions.

A conviction also could jeopardize Tiller's license to practice medicine.

In cases filed against physicians, Buening said, the Healing Arts Board usually seeks guidance from the prosecutor on whether to launch an investigation or wait until the criminal proceeding is completed.

Comments

nell 7 years, 6 months ago

The prosecutor who wrongly, unethically pursued the Duke lacross team on rape charges was disbarred.

I can't say whether Kline's unethical behavior was as egregious, or how unethical a lawyer has to be before violating the code of the KS Bar, but it seems to me that letting his transparent use of the justice system for political/personal ends lie because he is no longer in public office doesn't do the public any good. Kline carries the record of his behavior, tacitly cleansed of impugnity, to his current practice.

Sigmund 7 years, 6 months ago

Mike Nifong and the Duke players were completely different than Kline's investigation. First, the Duke players were charged and Tiller, Neuhaus et al. were never charged by Kline. Second, Nifong continued the prosecution of the players long after DNA excluded them and Kline was never able to charge Tiller and Neuhaus. Third, Morrison filed these charges, not Kline, based in part upon Kline's investigation.

There is one point where the Duke players and Tiller/Neuhaus do intersect, the allegation of rape. In the Duke case a stripper alleged rape and Kline claimed that underage pregnant girls were raped as a matter of law. However, in the Duke case the alleged victim came forward and accused the players. In the Kline investigation, Tiller refused to give the AG information that could lead to the rapist of underage teenage girls.

It will be curious how aggressively Morrison pursues the 11 misdemeanor charges against Kline. If convicted, Tiller and Neuhaus would most likely lose their licenses and Wichita can go back to being the Air Capital of the World and not the Late Term Abortion Capital of the World.

Crossfire 7 years, 6 months ago

Good idea...disbar Kkklline. Looks like Morrison is doing a good job on this one. Who's gonna clean up after Phillthy Phill after he leaves JOCO.

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 6 months ago

Can you guys come up with something a little less shopworn than "babykillers"? How about "infantaciders"? Then I can call you "infanatics". Or you can call me "babyhater" and I can call you "womanhater". By the way does that make you a homosexual? Are you gonna sign up on the registry? Oh wait...most of the gay men I know actually love women, they just aren't IN love with them. Well back to making up new terminology for useless, unrealistic rhetoric.

erod0723 7 years, 6 months ago

You say abortion, I say shmashmortion. The fact remains that women will continue getting abortions. Nothing proposed today will really stop that. Keeping abortions in the exam room is necessary as a means to provide a safe and efficable solution. Plus, the government gets paid for every dead baby, by lieu of income taxes and such.

Indigosky 7 years, 6 months ago

cait, your my hero! Thank you for your posts.

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