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Kansas board to appeal ruling in abortion case

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 14, 2014 at 8:42 pm •  Published: March 14, 2014

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas medical board plans to appeal a state court judge's order overturning its revocation of a doctor's license over her referrals of young patients for late-term abortions.

The State Board of Healing Arts decision Friday means the case of Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus goes next to the Kansas Court of Appeals.

The board in 2012 revoked Neuhaus' license to provide charity care over her exams of 11 patients, ages 10 to 18, nine years earlier. It concluded Neuhaus had failed to meet accepted standards of medical care because her records did not show that she had done thorough exams.

Shawnee County District Judge Franklin Theis ruled last week that the medical board had failed to show that Neuhaus' mental health exams were inadequate, only that her record-keeping was inadequate. The judge ordered the board to reconsider its sanctions.

Board members had a private, 20-minute meeting with legal staff to discuss the ruling and whether they should appeal or accept Theis' decision and schedule more proceedings for Neuhaus. They said little before voting in a brief, open session to have board attorneys pursue an appeal.

"There are legal grounds that support an appeal," said Kathleen Selzler Lippert, the board's executive director. "They thought it was appropriate to appeal."

Neuhaus, from the small town of Nortonville about 30 miles north of Lawrence, provided second opinions in 2003 that the late Dr. George Tiller needed under Kansas law to legally terminate the pregnancies. Tiller was among a few U.S. physicians known to perform abortions in the final weeks of pregnancy and was shot to death in May 2009 by a man professing strong anti-abortion views.

Bob Eye, a Topeka attorney representing Neuhaus, said he's not surprised the board's decision to appeal.

"The board probably recognized that they have essentially made a sizeable commitment of resources, in terms of staff and budget, in the case," Eye said. "Judge Theis, I think, wrote a carefully reasoned decision."

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