Tom Coburn

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Thomas Allen Coburn (March 14, 1948) is a U.S. Senator from the state of Oklahoma and among its most controversial conservative figures.

He was a physician, and a deacon in the Southern Baptist Church, until he ran for the House of Representatives as a Republican in Oklahoma's heavily Democratic 2nd District. oburn faced 71-year-old former principal Virgil Cooper, who had upset longtime 2nd District Congressman Mike Synar. Coburn won by a 52%-48% margin, becoming the first Republican to represent the district since 1921.

Like his counterpart in Georgia, Phil Gingrey Coburn continues to present himself as someone with special insight because of his medical training.

Contents

Verminophobia, Spermatophobia, Germ Phobia

Coburn worries about catching the diseases of the little people he must interact with as a politican. In an October 28 article he quoted as saying, "Every time you're with big groups of people, you're going to be exposed to rhinoviruses, adenoviruses and the viruses that cause gastroenteritis." So he uses antimicrobial soaps and lotions. See NewsObserver Article

Political Career

As a Congressman, Coburn opposed abortion and the proposed V-chip. In 1997, Coburn introduced an amendment (H.R. 1026) to the Social Security Act called the HIV Prevention Act of 1997. The amendment proposed a number of situations where HIV tests would be mandated or available on request and that all results of HIV tests be made available to state officials. In 2004, due to what they perceived as a thin bench, Coburn was asked by several Republicans to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Don Nickles. After a bitter primary fight with former Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys, he won the nomination, and defeated Democrat Brad Carson, who ironically had succeeded him as 2nd District Congressman, to win the seat. While Carson won his former congressional district, Coburn won by large margins in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

Most Significant Achievement as Senator

On May 26, 2005 Coburn sponsored a resolution congratulating Carrie Underwood for winning the American Idol television program.

CONTROVERSIES

Abortion

In 2000, Coburn sponsored a bill to prevent the FDA from developing, testing or approving RU-486. On July 13, the bill failed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 182 to 187. [1] During his Senate campaign against Democratic congressman. Coburn, a former obstetrician-gynecologist, has admitted to performing two abortions on women with heart disease in cases where he had to up hold his Hippocratic oath. Coburn also objects to legal abortion in cases of rape, and he justifies his position by noting that his great-grandmother was raped by a sheriff. [2]

Allegation of unauthorized medical procedure

It has been alleged that Coburn sterilized a woman without her consent on November 7, 1990 resulting in a civil malpractice suit. Coburn contends that he had her oral consent, but he did not obtain written consent. Coburn admitted that he performed the same procedure on "lots" of women. He also admitted during testimony that he charged Medicaid for the procedure, although the patient was under the age of 21. Under the applicable funding rules, the sterilization would have been ineligible for reimbursement even though it was administered as part of the same procedure (termination of an ectopic pregnancy) which saved the patient's life. The suit was ultimately dismissed with no finding of liability on Coburn's part.

Breast Implants

In January, 2005, during a Senate Judiciary Committee discussion about class-action lawsuits and silicone breast implants, The Washington Post quoted Coburn as stating: "You know, I immediately thought about silicone breast implants and the legal wrangling and the class-action suits off that. And I thought I would just share with you what science says today about silicone breast implants. If you have them, you're healthier than if you don't. That is what the ultimate science shows...In fact, there's no science that shows that silicone breast implants are detrimental and, in fact, they make you healthier." [3]

Coburn may have been referring to the conclusions of a December, 2004 study published in the journal, Breast Cancer Research[4]. The study, however, does not show that women with breast implants are healthier, only that the sample group had a slightly lower than expected incident of breast cancer over the period of the study.

Global warming

During his run for the U. S. Senate, Tom Coburn was quoted as saying that there was, "....no hard evidence to support global warming." Coburn called global warming, "just a lot of crap." [5]

Homosexual Panic

According to The American Prospect during Coburn's 2004 senatorial campaign in Oklahoma, Coburn remarked that in the town of Coalgate, Oklahoma, lesbianism was "so rampant in some of the schools...that they'll let only one girl go to the bathroom." [6] Coburn has also been quoted as saying: "The gay community has infiltrated the very centers of power in every area across this country, and they wield extreme power ... That agenda is the greatest threat to our freedom that we face today. Why do you think we see the rationalization for abortion and multiple sexual partners? That's a gay agenda." [7]

Mind Reading Claims

During Senate hearings on conservative Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, Coburn claimed that he could detect whether or not someone was speaking the truth because of his medical training. He repeated this assertion of practical mind reading ability in an interview with Tim Russert on Meet the Press on November 6, 2005. Coburn explicitly stated that he used his physician training to detremine when witnesses before Congressional hearings were lying although he refused to specifiy which instances. One obvious question to ask is whether or not Coburn believes his own claims of superhuman powers.

Schindler's List

As a congressman in the 1990s, Coburn protested NBC's airing of the movie Schindler's List. Coburn said in airing the movie NBC had taken television "to an all-time low, with full-frontal nudity, violence and profanity". He also said the broadcast should outrage parents and decent-minded individuals everywhere. Coburn described the airing of Schindler's List as, "...irresponsible sexual behavior...I cringe when I realize that there were children all across this nation watching this program." Many people disagreed with this statement.

Racism

  • Coburn placed a hold on H.R. 923, the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act of 2007, a bill that would have reopened hate crimes cases from before 1970. This bill passed the House by a vote of 422-2. (Source: Tom Coburn: The Shame of the Senate)


Sources

  • Harlan Coben. "Rock and Hard Place." The New York Times. November 25, 2005. p. 39. (source for "carrie Underwood")

References

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