A sign at one of the many vigils honoring Dr. Tiller after he was murdered
(Priya Deonarain/Creative Commons)Pop quiz, boys and girls.
What happens when a virulently anti-woman governor in a virulently anti-woman state appoints a likeminded virulent individual to the state board that oversees the licensing of medical providers?A) It's all good because at the end of the day, those elected and appointed to serve ultimately care about the well-being of their fellow citizens;
B) Women's health care providers lose their licenses.
If you guessed A, please don this here dunce cap I have for you and go sit in the corner. If you guessed B, good for you?and bad for the women of Kansas:
A Kansas doctor remained unapologetic Friday after state regulators revoked her medical license over allegations that she performed inadequate mental health exams on young patients she then referred to Dr. George Tiller for late-term abortions.This is a story that has been ongoing for many years, but really, there are only a few facts you need to know to get the full picture of the atrocity that happened in Kansas:
Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus and other abortion-rights supporters described the action against her by the State Board of Healing Arts as part of ongoing efforts to limit access to abortion that also shadowed Tiller before his murder in 2009 by a man professing strong anti-abortion views. Neuhaus immediately said she would ask the state's courts to overturn the board's decision.
The case stemmed from a 2006 complaint by Cheryl Sullenger, senior policy adviser for Operation Rescue.You remember who Cheryl Sullenger is, don't you? The ex-con who tried to blow up a women's health clinic and, when she came out of prison, was scooped up by Operation Rescue as just the sort of "pro-life" free-thinker they wanted to be their policy adviser. That's the same Cheryl Sullenger who was all buddy-buddy with Scott Roeder, the "pro-life" terrorist who assassinated Dr. George Tiller. She provided Roeder with the details of Dr. Tiller's whereabouts, and her phone number was?coincidentally, of course?found in Roeder's car after the assassination. You know, coincidentally.
The complaint was filed by Operation Rescue's senior policy adviser six years ago, but the State Board of Healing Arts only just now got around to revoking Dr. Neuhaus's license this week. Why? Well, here's critical fact number two:
[Gov. Sam] Brownback has tapped Rick Macias, a lawyer that has represented the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, to serve on the Kansas Board of Healing Arts. Operation Rescue is a national group that moved its offices to Kansas in 2007. The group moved in order to focus their opposition work on Dr. George Tiller, who provided late-term abortion services in his Wichita clinic until an anti-abortion extremist murdered him in his church in May 2009.Gov. Brownback has a fetish for restricting women's health care in the name of "life." So it's not surprising that when a spot opened up on the state's medical licensing board, he wanted to fill it with a like-minded fetishist. Where better to find such an individual than among the ranks of Operation Rescue?
And, no surprise, Macias lived up to expectations:
"I'm more concerned about the standard of care, particularly the aftercare," said board member Richard Macias, a Wichita attorney and a Brownback appointee. "That's the issue that bothers me the most."The "standard of care" requirement about which Macias and his fellow board members were oh-so-concerned isn't even on the books anymore, but so what? They were determined to punish Dr. Neuhaus for working with Dr. Tiller, laws be damned. Operation Rescue, and its elected enablers like Gov. Brownback, don't give a good goddamn about the law, nor about what kind of care women receive. If they did care, they wouldn't be so hell-bent on ensuring that receiving care is all but impossible. No, the only care they consider acceptable is no care at all.
The forced-birthers are, of course, thrilled about the suspension of Dr. Neuhaus's license. Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, said, "It has taken a long, long time to get this piece of justice." Because making sure there's one less doctor to provide health care to women is, of course, "justice." (Dr. Neuhaus, by the way, hasn't even performed abortions since 2002. She merely provided the required second opinion for Dr. Tiller's patients who sought late-term abortions. But the anti-woman organizations are willing to wait a very long time for vengeance, and any involvement whatsoever in abortion care requires vengeance.)
It's a pretty incestuous conspiracy, isn't it? The governor handpicks someone from a terrorist organization to serve on the state board and carry out the organization's extremist agenda against women's health care providers. And the message to doctors?from Gov. Brownback, Operation Rescue, and their mutually favored appointee to the board?couldn't be clearer:
Stay away from women's health care. Because if you don't, you'll be targeted, harassed and investigated. For years. You may even lose your license. And if all of that fails, don't forget Dr. Tiller. You might just be gunned down in your own church. For "life."
If that's not terrorism, I don't know what is.