Nine of eleven case files for Kansas post-viability abortions were examined today by psychiatric expert, Dr. Liza Gold. All girls were minors, aborted at the Wichita facility of George Tiller in 2003, and most were non-residents.
These late-term abortion referral files of Ann Kristin (Kris) Neuhaus showed a stunning lack of mental health evaluations, clinical evidence and valid patient analyses.
Kansas State Healing Arts Board attorney, Reese Hays, meticulously reviewed with Dr. Gold the contents of these files (redacted of names) on this second day of a long-overdue administrative hearing.
Kansas law permits post-viable abortions only to prevent death or “substantial and irreversible” harm to “a major bodily function” of the mother– which (until a new pro-life law went into effect this July) had included mental health.
The Board is not arguing that the diagnoses Neuhaus assigned were not substantial and irreversible— because they aren’t. Rather, they are arguing that her process grossly strayed from professional protocols about the accepted elements of consultation and the components to be found in the patient record. Gold explained that it was “below the standard of care” for Neuhaus to have used a computer generated answer tree to generically assess the pregnant girls.
- In case files #7 and #11, teens were assigned a mental disorder ranking equivalent to the medical emergency grounds for involuntary commitment! Yet these girls were marched off to late abortions and sent away without follow up care plans.
- In the case file #3, Neuhaus diagnosed a 15-year-old as exhibiting “major depression, single episode.” The girl’s stated reasons for the late abortion were, “horses are my life and having kids would mess that up for barrel racing” and she couldn’t bear “not being able to continue riding in the rodeo.”
- In case file #2, a 10-year old victim of rape/incest categorized as suicidal was given the same numerical “impairment rating” as that of #3, an unhappy 15 year old with a boyfriend. Gold exclaimed that it is virtually impossible for those two situations to be equivalent, much less– due to the lack of documentation and the verbal and emotional immaturity of children– to assess the true situation.
- Girls in case files #5 and #6 were ashamed to be seen outside pregnant– an understandable, temporary condition that is not symptomatic of a psychological disorder, explained Gold. Teen #6 spoke only French, and there was no notation whether Neuhaus used a translator.
Gold criticized Neuhaus for using ‘exclusionary’ questions on the computer form without clarification. For example, ‘does patient show sleep disturbance, hypersomnia or insomnia’ would be checked off without any notation whether this individual was getting too much sleep or not enough. And if a third-trimester-pregnant girl was tired, that could well just be the effects of pregnancy, or working a late job—all environmental factors, not evidence of a major psychiatric disorder.
Differentiating between “social stressors” and true psychiatric disorders is the job of a specially trained clinician, asserted Gold, even more so in the case of children and adolescents. Neuhaus didn’t have that training. Her records are devoid of any proof she conducted authentic evaluations, but just gave the veneer of legality by printing out computer reports.
For years, Kansas pro-lifers begged state regulators to stop Neuhaus’ rubber-stamping of profitable late abortions (costing an average of $6000) through citizen grand juries, special legislative investigations and new laws regulating abortion. Testimony in this hearing proves we were–sadly–right.