They Aren’t OB-GYNs (Anymore) But They Play Them In Congress

Posted on April 24, 2012

RH Reality Check, April 24, 2012 by Robin Marty

Would you feel comfortable seeing a doctor who hadn’t been practicing medicine in at least a decade? Then why are “former OBG-GYN” congressman apparently getting extra say in what sort of health care women should be allowed to have nationally?

Politico takes a look at the handful of southern, conservative former OBs in congress, all of whom are heavily invested in repealing the Affordable Care Act, limiting a woman’s right to choose, and fighting no co-pay contraception.

There are 20 physicians in the 112th Congress, but the four ob-gyn doctors in the House — and the one in the Senate — are aligned in their conservative ideology, frustration with the health care bureaucracy and distrust of Big Government. In their former careers as doctors in private practice, they say they saw up close how decisions made in Washington affected patients and doctors on the front lines. They fret constantly about the government’s impact on medical care and doctors, and they’re all adamantly anti-abortion.

But who are these doctors to make medical decisions for women who aren’t even their patients? Congressman Phil Roe of Tennessee has been out of the medical profession for nearly 10 years, as has Texan Michael Burgess. Georgia Rep. Phil Gingrey hasn’t practiced in at least 14 years, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn hasn’t in at least 18 years (which is probably good since he once forcibly sterilized a patient while he was practicing), and Texas Congressman Ron Paul hasn’t seen a patient in well over three decades.

No woman would go to a doctor who hadn’t seen a patient in more than 10 years. Why are they being allowed to make health care decisions, and veto power over a woman’s actual day-to- day physician?

The “OB-GYN caucus” can continue to try and legislate their personal beliefs on the women of this country.  But Politico does a disservice by trying to justify their moves in the name of medicine.