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Dems attack Sen. Coburn for delivering babies for free

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By Michelle Malkin  •  July 30, 2008 11:07 AM

How afraid is the Democrat leadership of truly maverick conservative GOP Sen. Tom Coburn, who is waging war with Hapless Harry Reid over binge spending and secrecy?

They’re so afraid of his effectiveness that they are trying to kneecap him with bogus Ethics Committee complaints about his practice of not charging for delivering babies at the Muskogee Regional Medical Center. Coburn continues to serve as an OB/GYN in Oklahoma.

Jill Stanek read my mind: If Sen. Coburn were aborting babies for free instead of delivering them, he’d be getting awards instead of ethics complaints.

Contact info for the Senate Ethics Committee:

The Select Committee on Ethics can be contacted at 220 Hart Building, United States Senate, Washington, DC 20510. Telephone: (202) 224 – 2981. Fax: (202) 224 – 7416.
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From the Hill:

Coburn has come under new pressure from the Ethics panel for delivering babies at the Muskogee Regional Medical Center, which changed from a public to a private institution in April last year….

In May, Coburn received a strongly worded “final determination” memo threatening him with a Senate censure if he did not stop delivering babies for free….

Coburn spokesman John Hart… called the Ethics panel’s logic “absurd” and its argument “inane.”

“Just as parents don’t choose him hoping to sway his vote, parents don’t choose to receive his services at a particular hospital because Dr. Coburn has somehow endorsed that hospital because he is a senator,” Hart said in a statement…. “The committee has shown us zero empirical evidence to back up its flimsy claim.

“Has Sen. Leahy provided an improper endorsement to Warner Brothers for appearing in Batman?” Hart asked. “Will millions of Americans now see Batman not because it features stars like Christian Bale or the late Heath Ledger, but because Patrick Leahy, a distinguished U.S. senator, has offered his illustrious endorsement to this motion picture?

“If Sen. Coburn can only deliver babies for free at a public hospital, shouldn’t Sen. Leahy only be allowed to donate his notable thespian skills to a public entity like PBS?”

…Hart estimates that Coburn has delivered dozens of babies since last receiving an ultimatum from the Ethics panel in 2005. Coburn has received no compensation for his work and paid “tens of thousands of dollars” out of his own pocket for medical malpractice insurance and other costs related to his medical practice, Hart said.

Other physicians in the Senate, such as former Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), a heart surgeon, voluntarily gave up their medical practices when they joined the Senate.

Coburn, however, wants to remain a true citizen-legislator and has long argued that the Senate should allow him to keep serving his patients because he plans to return to the practice when he leaves the Senate in 2016, consistent with his pledge to serve only two terms. He would like to keep up his medical skills if he is going to continue being able to earn a living in his chosen profession.

Frist, by contrast, had no plans to return to his practice when he retired from the Senate.

Asked about the recent Ethics Committee action, Coburn said he doesn’t believe he is in violation and will continue to fight any action taken against him.

“All I’m going to say is that’s a fight I would relish,” he said.

Hart said Coburn has no intention of abandoning his medical oath to his patients under threat of censure.

Reader Ray e-mails: “I would think the Democrats would want to praise Dr. Coburn, R-OK, for providing ‘free’ medical care as they hate that so many Americans cannot afford it.”

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