Another Star in the Republican Party

[Content Note: Consent issues; reproductive coercion.]

Meet Republican Congressional Representative from the great state of Tennessee Scott DesJarlais:
A decade before calling himself "a consistent supporter of pro-life values," Tennessee physician and Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais supported his ex-wife's decision to get two abortions before their marriage, according to the congressman's sworn testimony during his divorce trial.

Obtained by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the couple's 2001 trial transcript also confirms DesJarlais had sexual relationships with at least two patients, three coworkers and a drug representative while he was chief of staff at Grandview Medical Center in Jasper, Tenn.

...DesJarlais, a family-values conservative who rode 2010's tea party wave to Washington, testified his ex-wife's earlier abortion stemmed from medical concerns.

"...[She] was on an experimental drug called Lupron and was not supposed to have gotten pregnant. There were potential risks. It was a therapeutic," he said.

DesJarlais backed a second abortion after she returned from a military stint in Saudi Arabia a few years before they married in 1995.

"[It] was after she had gotten back from Desert Storm and things were not going well between us and it was a mutual decision," he said.
Now, it was at this point in the linked story that I thought: Mutual decision, my ass. Reproductive coercion red flags all the fuck over the joint. And then, later in the story, this:
The 679-page transcript reveals new details about DesJarlais' interactions with a 24-year-old-patient, who claimed she became pregnant with DesJarlais' child during a short fling in 2000 and that the doctor later pressed her to have an abortion.
Sexual contact with patients is not merely seriously unethical; it suggests a pretty distant relationship with meaningful consent. Sexual coercion red flags all the fuck over the joint. And then, later in the story, this:
In further proceedings, DesJarlais acknowledged that the woman was not the only patient he had a sexual relationship with that year.

DesJarlais stated in testimony that he carried on a four-month sexual affair with another patient, a woman he prescribed pills for during their relationship. He stressed that there was "nothing wrong" with the prescriptions he wrote, which included the painkiller Darvocet, and was indignant when asked about claims he had handled medication improperly.

"I don't feel real obligated to respond to that. I think it's ludicrous," he said. "I've never been challenged or questioned in terms of my integrity before."
Wow. Suffice it to say I think it's problematic for a doctor to be engaging in sexual contact with a patient to whom he has prescribed an opioid drug.

This story will almost certainly play out as just another "Moral Values Hypocrite" tale, but this guy is a predator who at the very least has engaged in emotional abuse. Will the Republican Party close ranks around this misogynist nightmare? They certainly did during the election.

DesJarlais "cruised to re-election past Democratic challenger Eric Stewart, persevering through October media reports of sleeping with patients and urging one to get an abortion. The Tennessee Democratic Party had attempted to obtain the transcript before the Nov. 6 election, but the court delayed the process because the document was not typed up in its complete form."


This guy is currently sitting in the US Congress making reproductive decisions for women and other people with uteri. He shouldn't be.

teaspoon icon Contact the Republican National Committee and politely inquire if they will continue to let a man who preys on, exploits, and abuses women to be a part of their caucus. Send them a message here. Leave them a message on their Facebook page here. Tweet at them here.

[H/T to my pal Richard.]

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