On Monday of this week, the Kansas Board of Healing Arts launched an inquiry into the medical practice of one Dr. Ann Kristin (Kris) Neuhaus.
If ever a civil procedure captured the essence of Hannah Arendt’s memorable phrase “the banality of evil,” it is surely this one.
Still, in its own anodyne way, this hearing is showing those who care to look what a stone cold serial killer was Neuhaus’ patron, the late abortionist, George Tiller. As such, it deserves much more attention that it has been getting.
For several years, Neuhaus made an unhealthy chunk of her income by providing Tiller the second opinion required under Kansas law for a third-trimester abortion.
According to that law, a doctor could abort a fully viable baby only if he and a second independent physician agreed that the abortion would prevent the mother from suffering a “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function” or save her life.
Neuhaus was paid to rubber stamp Tiller’s opinion. In that late-term abortions do nothing positive for a woman’s physical health, Tiller almost always diagnosed an impending mental-health breakdown. As a result, all of Neuhaus’ second opinions under review concern the mother’s mental health.
Although Tiller claimed 60,000 late-term abortions over his long career, the Board focused its investigation on just 11 of them from 2003, all involving girls 18 and under whose babies had lived more than 25 weeks in the womb.
In the course of its first few days, the hearing shed more light on Tiller’s practices than had been shed in the seven or so years Tiller and/or Neuhaus had been under scrutiny.
Indeed, Tiller and the local media branded intrepid Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline as “Snoop Dog” for daring to probe into Tiller’s practice, and he had revealed nowhere near the information introduced by day two of the hearing.
Expert witness Dr. Liza Gold of Georgetown University withheld names but little else. Having reviewed the files, she shared the symptoms that led Tiller and Neuhaus to declare a “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”
One 15-year-old girl, for instance, had stated, “Horses are my life, and having kids would mess that up for barrel racing.”
Unwilling to diagnose RDS, “rodeo derivation syndrome,” Neuhaus chose “major depression, single episode.”
This thoroughly corrupt diagnosis allowed Tiller to take the life of a healthy baby fully capable of living outside the womb and a $6,000 fee to ease his conscience.
The transaction, however, was allowed to take place in Kansas only because Tiller had bought off the Democratic and moderate Republican establishment.
When Republican Attorney General Kline made serious efforts to hold Tiller to the law, Tiller invested a reputed $2 million in the 2006 election alone.
This election assured the defeat of the incumbent Kline and the re-election of Democratic Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, now the secretary of health and human services.
While still under criminal investigation, Tiller celebrated the victory with Sebelius at the governor’s mansion. The pictures are priceless.
Even with Sebelius’ help, in a deep red state like Kansas Tiller needed the media to hold off reform and keep his practice alive. This he did not even have to pay for.
In 2006, for its repeated slander of the “anti-choice extremist” Kline, the Kansas City Star won Planned Parenthood’s top media honor, the “Maggie Award,” named for its eugenicist founder, Margaret Sanger.
The media refused to see that the case of the young rodeo star was something of a cavalier norm at Tiller’s Wichita clinic. “Teen pregnancy is not a risk factor for psychiatric disorders,” Dr. Gold said when challenged by Neuhaus’ attorney.
Gold added, “Late-term abortion is not a treatment or intervention for any psychiatric condition.”
Even if it were a treatment, Gold made clear, Neuhaus’ evaluations were a joke. To assess the girls’ mental health, Neuhaus used a computer-generated answer tree that gave a 10-year-old rape/incest victim the same “impairment rating” as an unhappy 15-year-old with a boyfriend.
Some evaluations lasted no more than 15 minutes before Neuhaus casually sentenced an innocent baby to death. In no case did Neuhaus arrange follow-up care for these girls to deal with their “substantial and irreversible” impairments.
At the hearing’s end, the administrative judge will make a recommendation to the full board as to whether Neuhaus properly observed professional protocols. Worst case, Neuhaus will lose her medical license.
This will represent the extent of the earthly punishment for the killing of 60,000 babies in gross violation of the state’s laws.
Sebelius will keep her top job at HHS. The editors at the Star will keep the Maggie in their trophy case. George Tiller will be remembered as a martyr to the cause of reproductive rights. And our grandchildren one day will shake their heads in dismay and wonder how they we let them all get away with, well, murder.