Senator Told It's Unethical to Deliver Babies

Ethics panel sees conflict in Coburn's pro-bono work
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2008 5:39 PM CDT
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., center, waits backstage as Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., rear left, and his wife Cindy arrive at a campaign event in Greenville, S.C., Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2008.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – Sen.Tom Coburn, an obstetrician by profession, is a stubborn guy. Known around the cloakroom as Dr. No, he isn't about to let anyone tell him to stop delivering babies when he's at home in Oklahoma at recess. The Senate Ethics Committee insists it's a conflict of interest, even though he does it pro bono, Politico reports.

Coburn says he does it to help out patients who are at risk and keep his medical skills sharp, and he's been telling the committee to butt out for years. The panel, calling it a “serious violation of Senate rules,” gave him a June 22 deadline to give it up. He hasn't said whether he's done the deed since then, but he fully intends to. If they issue a reprimand, he'll appeal to the full Senate, and he's looking forward to the spectacle of the Senate publicly punishing someone for donating medical services to help pregnant women.