A disciplinary hearing beginning today is expected to scrutinize how one physician arrived at second opinions allowing the late Dr. George Tiller’s clinic to go ahead with late-term abortions for young patients.
Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus faces allegations that she did inadequate mental health examinations before referring patients to Tiller’s clinic in Wichita. A complaint before the State Board of Healing Arts deals with her care for 11 patients, aged 10 to 18, all at least 25 weeks pregnant, who received abortions from July to November 2003.
Tiller was among a few U.S. physicians performing late-term procedures when a man professing strong anti-abortion views shot him to death in May 2009. Two months before, Tiller had been acquitted on misdemeanor criminal charges that, in relying on Neuhaus for referrals, he wasn’t truly getting the independent second medical opinion state law required for many abortions past the 22nd week of pregnancy.
Neuhaus, from the small town of Nortonville, about 30 miles north of Lawrence, is a former abortion provider herself who came under medical board scrutiny in the past.
She doesn’t have an active medical practice, but her Kansas license allows her to provide charity care, which she does.
Her attorney, Robert Eye, said he’ll present evidence during the hearing in Topeka showing that Neuhaus was more thorough than many physicians are in examining patients’ mental health issues. He said both sides expect to present testimony from witnesses they’ve designated as experts, examining her actions.
Neuhaus performed abortions in Wichita from 1994 to 2001 at Wichita clinic that competed with Tiller’s and operated her own abortion clinic in Lawrence from 1997 to 2002, citing financial problems as a reason for ending both practices.