There’s still something very wrong with KansasPosted: June 25, 2012
Instituting religious doctrine is something that just shouldn’t happen in this country. Yet, many Kansas legislators just want a theocracy. What’s the matter with Kansas, still? Do they confuse acorns with trees and scrambled eggs with fried chicken too? Don’t women deserve to keep their medical records out of the hands of their state governments?
On Friday, the Kansas Board of Healing Arts refused to reinstate the medical license of Dr. Ann Neuhaus, who provided second opinions to abortion provider Dr. George Tiller between 1999 and 2006. Kansas law requires a second opinion to perform some late-term abortions. Neuhaus’ license was revoked by an administrative court in February following a 2006 complaint from the anti-choice group Operation Rescue alleging she did not take the safety of teenage patients seriously in 2003 because of the short length of patient record files for her cases.
But the sparseness of her patient notes was an attempt to protect their privacy from the anti-choice crusade of a state official. Around the time Neuhaus performed the abortions, the Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline was investigating abortion providers — going so far as to subpoena medical records and discuss those cases on right-wing television shows. Indeed, Neuhaus specifically cites Kline’s “investigation” while arguing her exams met accepted care standards:
She…testified that she didn’t put more details in her records to protect patients’ privacy. After the hearing, she said she was “unapologetic” for that, noting the Kansas attorney general’s office began investigating abortion providers, including Tiller, starting early in 2003, and in 2006, Fox television’s Bill O’Reilly strongly criticized Tiller and discussed a few of his patients’ cases on his program.
Kline faces an ongoing ethics complaint case alleging he “lied to the Kansas Supreme Court, misled a Johnson County grand jury investigating an abortion provider and discussed an ongoing case on ‘The O’Reilly Factor’” that throw weight behind Neuhau’s fears, but whether or not she could get a fair hearing was doubtful. Gov. Sam Brownback (R) recently appointed former Operation Rescue attorney Richard Macias to the board, and one expert witnesses called by the Board testified there were no cases in which providing an abortion could be beneficial to a patient’s mental health.
While Neuhaus plans to appeal, the entire saga paints a stark portrait of how pervasive anti-choice influence is at some state levels — and the untenable position that influence means for health care providers. Then again, perhaps it’s no surprise a state that seriously debated legislation that would force doctors to misinform their patients about health risks would put an anti-choice agenda before the well-being and medical privacy of it’s citizens.
Republican state legislators are just dying to get all women’s constitutional rights put before those Opus Dei freaks on SCOTUS.
According to the Associated Press, Neuhaus was hoping to have her full medical license restored after spending years only allowed to provide limited medical care for charity work. Instead, an ongoing investigation into 11 patient cases obtained by Operation Rescue became the center of a movement to have her license stripped all together.
The cases all involved girls who sought abortions due to mental health issues from depression to suicide, with an age range from 17 years old to as young as 10. The board alleged that Neuhaus’s exams were not thorough enough based on the available records provided, and that her follow up care was inadequate, as she did not recommend counseling or hospitalization afterwards.
Neuhaus called the accusations ridiculous. She said she refused to put too much identifying information in the records because she knew that they could eventually end up in the hands of outsiders and violate the patients’ privacy. As for abortions not being necessary, Neuhaus found that laughable as well.
“To even claim that isn’t medically necessary qualifies as gross incompetence,” said Neuhaus. “Someone’s 10 years old, and they were raped by their uncle and they understand that they’ve got a baby growing in their stomach and they don’t want that. You’re going to send this girl for a brain scan and some blood work and put her in a hospital?”