Tag Archives: skeptical ob

No, OBs are not accountable

I was reading this post from the skeptical OB today

as you may or may not know, I was banned from the skeptical OB for calling Dr Amy out on being a fence sitter on the issue of date rape. Remember that any time she complains about being “silenced” by home birth bloggers for asking uncomfortable questions. She does the same thing to people who think there isn’t a neutral zone when it comes to rape.

IN this specific post Dr Amy says a survivor of sexual abuse who had several cuts to her perineum done to her body against her will during labor, by an OBGYN isn’t experiencing violence. She doesn’t even condemn the behavior of the OB at any point. She laments a series of home birth deaths in australia, one of the summaries she quotes points out that the mom chose home birth because she had been treated so poorly in the hospital. The only violence in birth is when the baby is injured? Here is as close as she gets to saying anything condemning that horrible physician:

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not claiming that hospital care is perfect. Although there is rarely any violence, there is a great deal of poor and disrespectful treatment.

Beforehand she literally says that the baby being inside the woman fundamentally changes the interaction. She talks as though women are simply vessels for children, and that being such a vessel fundamentally changes the way that a woman would experience having her gentials repeatedly cut against her will. The lack of empathy is very telling. The woman who was cut against her will, over and over, well before crowning, should be comfortable going back to the hospital because Dr Amy is apparently the ultimate authority on what constitutes violence or not. Its laughable, especially from a woman who insists that one must be an expert on a topic in order to have an opinion. Dr Amy goes on and on about the inability of midwives to call out their fellow midwives for negligence and damage done to patients, but here Dr Amy does the same thing and ignores deplorable conduct on the part of a gynecologist.  She goes on to say:

However, the chief victims aren’t Western, white, well off women; the chief victims are the elderly, people of color and those of lower socio-economic status.

For a skeptic she sure has an aversion to actually linking to evidence. Being white and college educated are one axis of privilege, but it doesn’t erase being female. It doesn’t erase the fact that women, regardless of any of their other characteristics, are targets for sexual abuse and violence by virtue of being female. Why anyone would believe that this problem vanishes in the hospital is beyond me. One kind of oppression does not erase the other. Dr Amy’s total ignorance of contemporary feminism and social justice movements is showing once again.

ANYWAY, I wish i could comment so I could let everyone know that NO, you don’t have many avenues for redress if your OBGYN decides to do all kinds of shit to you without your consent. You need a ton of money (enough to pay a lawyer for a lengthy and probably fruitless lawsuit). Medical boards don’t give a damn about this, and the doctor and hospitals have better lawyers than 99% of the population.

Women have many legit reasons for choosing home birth, and this is one of them. A lot of the people in the comments section of the Skeptical OB, who claim there are Very Serious Consequences for physicians who do things against your will, are living in a dream world. In the real world, your word doesn’t matter at all. I know from first hand experience. The issue at hand here is that midwives and home birth do not solve the problem. Horrible attitudes from other people about abuses of women during hospital childbirth (including disbelieving the women, rebranding their experiences as “disrespect” instead of abuse or violence, insisting that they will be compensated despite all evidence, etc) makes a vulnerable population easy pickings for midwives. I know that seeing unauthorized procedures done to patients during my time working in hospitals was instrumental in my decision to have an out of hospital birth. I knew that these doctors were not accountable because they did it all the time. There isn’t anything that holds them accountable for these issues. A suit for battery is unlikely to succeed and is hard to pull off. Ignoring the problems won’t make them go away, and will in fact drive more women to seek care from midwives, who at least pay lip service to how damaging abuse during childbirth can be to patients.


Dr Amy understands that deleting facebook questions is evidence of guilt…

Dr Amy understands that deleting facebook questions is evidence of guilt…

…But when she deletes the questions on her facebook group asking her to clarify her position on date rape its fine?


I emailed dr amy to ask why someone so anti-censorship deleted a post. Her response is that I am a  “huge jerk”, so that justifies censorship, apparently. Just keep that in mind every time Dr Amy claims that people who delete tough questions are cowards or guilty; she does the same exact thing when she makes a mistake, and if I am a ‘huge jerk’ for making a big deal about rape apologetics being endorsed then I guess she is the Hugest Jerk Ever for the things she writes. 

VBAC deaths are a terrible outcome of natural childbirth ideology. The outcome of blaming rape victims (which sometimes means suicide) is also a cause for moral concern. Important issues deserve thoughtful discussion and truthfulness, not misdirection and evasion. The Skeptical OB writes about a lot more than obstetrics and home birth, there are discussions of violence against women, racism, parenting, etc. There is no reason for this to go unanswered for so long. It reflects poorly on her personal integrity to throw so many women under the bus by failing to address concerns that many members of her own community brought to her attention. Step up already and just answer the question. You can ask dr amy about her position on rape by contacting her on facebook.



More dr amy tuteur hypocrisy

Her most recent piece is called “A healthy baby is not all that matters. Who ever said it was?”


Uh, YOU did. repeatedly.


“I had a c-section and all I got is a healthy baby (complete with a toddler crying as the main graphic)”


I can’t count the number of articles by Dr Amy Tutuer that say something similar to the above- your baby lived, why do you care about anything else? She expresses the idea that moms who were traumatized by c/s or hospital birth or an OBGYN should just shut up because at least their babies didn’t die, as if life long psychological damge is somehow considered the price of having a healthy baby, when in reality neither thing is in conflict with the other. She spews this hate towards traumatized hospital birthing mothers while also trying to promote the idea that she cares deeply about patient autonomy and consent. I can’t figure out if she is disingenuous or just clueless and hypocritical.

Dr Amy Tuteur: hypocrite and rape apologist (UPDATED 4-28-15 corrections made)

UPDATE: I have been looking at the Fed Up With Natural Child Birth group and have seen Dr Tutuer tell off a male rape apologist in the group, which makes the standard of commenting different than what I previously asserted. I have also been unbanned from commenting on skeptical OB after asking nicely. I think this is just what happens when two stubborn people fight- neither one wants to budge. Below is a record from the time of the actual fight happening when tensions were high.

There has been a controversy started on Dr Amy Tuteur’s (the skeptical OB) facebook group “Fed Up with Natural Child Birth”.

It all started in a thread where a poster (lets call her Miss Ogynist) with a perpetual need to derail conversations blamed loss mothers directly for having chosen a midwife to attend their birth. This suggestion was made on a thread about a recent home birth death- an especially insensitive place to share such an opinion.

Other posters were appalled, and asked “would you blame a rape victim if they were raped while intoxicated?”

Miss Ogynist made it clear that she would blame rape victims who were intoxicated.

She said that if someone gets too drunk to fight off a rapist it is their fault. She says that if someone is drugged it is their fault because they did not keep their eye on their drink. Etc etc. Horrible victim blaming nonsense. Most people were totally appalled.

I made a reply or two pointing out that predatory rapists are at fault for rape, then promptly blocked the Miss Ogynist. I figured that was the end of that.

But then I saw some comments from the group administrator, Dr Amy Tuteur, that seemed to agree with Miss Ogynist’s opinion that women who drink are at fault if they get raped. The comments did not outright state her position one way or the other, but she failed to register any disgust with Miss Ogynist’s comments. Here is what Dr Tuteur had to say:

Image Dr Tuteur seems to think that the degree of fault that rape victims have if they are intoxicated is something “reasonable people can disagree about”. She compares being drunk and being raped (which she refers to as “disclaiming responsibility for having sex”) to a man refusing to pay child support because a baby was conceived while he had drunken sex. To me this is absolutely disgusting. Rape is an act done to a person, consensual sex is by definition not, rape and consensual sex should not be compared in this manner. This is like comparing theft to charity donation, or boxing matches to assault. The nature of consent radically changes the meaning of our actions, hence having completely different words for rape and sex.

She is repeating the sexist trope of women regretting sex and deciding that they were raped later on. All the available data on sexual predators says that this is not how rape typically works. Usually men who rape intoxicated women are serial rapists, and pick women who are intoxicated specifically because it is easy to get away with it. The reason it is easy to get away with it is because society decides that these women are at fault for being raped. Dr Tuteur’s attitude is right in line with Miss Ogynist’s tirade against victims who are raped while intoxicated. I was shocked. ACOG and other gynecological associations have newsletters, CEUs, and position statements about victims of sexual violence, and they are evidence based and sympathetic to victims. This was the opposite of what I expected from someone who had a lot of experience as a gynecologist.

There was also a lot of commentary from Dr Amy Tuteur that kept downplaying the seriousness of the problem of victim blaming rhetoric. She persistently implied that this issue is not important enough to talk about.



Several of us came forward in that thread as victims of sexual assault. More than one person talked about how they felt physically ill or felt unsafe due to PTSD symptoms stemming from rape. These kinds of comments are not innocuous, they are not some lofty philosophical exercise- they are our lives. PTSD is a daily reminder of trauma that can only be managed, not escaped. It is our lives and she made it seem as though these comments simply caused “offense” instead of real problems. I would hate to see what Dr Tuteur’s opinions are on online bullying and teen suicide.

Anyway, I made it clear that I couldn’t stay in a group where this kind of conduct was not only tolerated, but endorsed. I made a goodbye post in case anyone was wondering where I went- I was an active poster who contributed to the group often (making blog posts, graphics, and other projects to try and further awareness of the problems with CPMs and natural child birth). What did doctor Amy say?


I didn’t even bring up Miss Ogynist, other posters talked about her a lot, but I didn’t. My issue was that Dr Amy seemed to be in agreement with Miss Ogynist and was minimizing the impact of victim blaming in a predominantly female space. She even put “controversy” in scarce quotes, and instead of calling a rape apologist distasteful, she called me (and others who left) distasteful for “flouncing”.

She also had the nerve to imply we were all behaving like juveniles, shortly after having published an insulting limerick in response to criticism from a different skepticism blog.

Anyway, her claim to not censor is especially hilarious because she ultimately deleted this thread (and the one with the offensive comments) the next day, and then said that any comments made about Miss Ogynist would be deleted! She goes on and on about how home birth advocates simply delete tough comments, and how weak their position must be to resort to such measures, and then she did it herself.

She lost roughly 300 followers in a single day because of how she handled this problem, and the reason I am blogging and posting screen shots is that it is not fair to let unsuspecting women wander into the group without knowing that this kind of talk is encouraged by the group administrator. If I had known that Dr Tuteur thinks that blaming rape victims for being raped was something “reasonable people can disagree about” then I would have never joined in the first place, and neither would other members who ultimately left. Dr Tuteur ultimately ended up lecturing us all about how mean we are for picking on poor Miss Ogynist.

mean girls

 My ire was aimed entirely at dr tuteur for failing to disavow the comments, and seeming to support victim blaming in the Fed Up With Natural Childbirth group. She absolutely refused to clarify her position to anyone (several people tried via PM).

refuses to clarify

All I wanted to hear was that it wasn’t a woman’s fault. That’s it. I would have rejoined the fed up group if I had known that it wasn’t tolerated, but Dr Amy was determined to be a fence sitter on the topic of rape.

wont disavow rape

No one gets to be a fence sitter when it comes to rape. If you are not for victims then you put yourself squarely on the side of perpetrators and their supporters. Rape victims have virtually no chance at obtaining justice, and are left to pick up the pieces for the rest of their lives. Its devastating. That is why there is no neutral zone when it comes to rape. Support for victims is severely lacking in our society and is desperately needed to ensure victims feel safe in any community. There is no reason to tolerate victim blaming rhetoric any more than there is a reason to tolerate racism or inciting violence.

Several people have mentioned how bad this would look for ‘the cause’ and hoped that it wouldn’t be publicized, but I feel that trying to cover up the problems with leaders in any group is much worse than simply dealing with what they have done and calling them out for it. The truth comes out no matter how hard some people try to cover it up, and it is unlikely that Dr Tuteur’s rape apologetics would never surface again. The solution to the problem is obvious, Dr Tuteur could clarify her position, apologize, or otherwise try to remedy it. Instead she has chosen to try and cover it up and pretend like it never happened. I won’t forget the betrayal I felt learning that Dr Amy, an OBGYN, does not understand who is at fault for rape. I won’t forget the realization that all her mocking of “birth rape” was perfectly in line with all this- after all, she did not take rape seriously to begin with, so it was easy to mock forced medical procedures and their impact upon women during childbirth. It explained perfectly why she thought trigger warnings were insulting, that they called women weak somehow to give them warning beforehand that there may be discussions of rape or infant death or other distressing topics. Frankly, its hard to know how she could hold all those views and not be a rape apologists. Those other beliefs are the scaffolding of rape apologetics, they are necessary underlying beliefs that must exist for one to be a rape apologist.

It is only fair to let anyone contemplating joining the Fed Up With Natural Childbirth group know that this happened, and since dr tuteur has deleted all the relevant threads I am forced to publish her comments here so that they can be found by anyone. I wish I had known so I didn’t waste my time.

One of the people who left the group started their own group where rape apologia will not be tolerated. It is called Fed Up With Birth Zealotry. 

UPDATE- banned from commenting at Skeptical OB for linking to this article. Remember to bring it up whenever dr amy claims to not censor comments or allow debate. Her friend’s feelings are more important than silly things like principles or letting rape victims know that her website isn’t a safe space for them to comment.

Edited to add- I accidentally put the name of a group on facebook that was supposed to be kept private. I regret the error and have since removed the name and link.