Should homebirth advocates continue support a doctor convicted of sexual exploitation?

Amy Tuteur calls sexual exploitation “the most egregious violation of professional conduct that any obstetrician-gynecologist can commit.”

And in that context, she details an interesting scenario brewing in California. Stuart Fischbein is an obstetrician that’s widely hailed in homebirth circles, writing a book and being a foremost advocate of homebirths.

Unfortunately for him, he also exercised some poor judgment, as detailed in this newspaper report:

He called her “sweet pea,” held her hand and warned her about moving too fast with her fiancee. What began as flirtation morphed into an affair that was twice consummated.

Even before the relationship dissolved into angry phone calls, a lawsuit, a criminal complaint, therapy and wounds that changed lives, there was a problem.

He was her doctor.

He’s calling on his most ardent supporters, homebirth proponents, to help fund his legal defense fund, which he needs as he’s facing a revocation of his hospital privileges. There’s some cognitive dissonance here, as Dr. Tuteur observes, asking, “Is homebirth so important that any doctor who supports it, even one who has acknowledged sexually exploiting a patient?”

Indeed.

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