On Monday, Republican representative Scott DesJarlais had an ethics complaint filed against him. DesJarlais had an affair with one of his patients, he is also a physician, and he pressured the woman to get an abortion back in 2000.
In an email sent to his supporters, Desjarlais did admit to the affair with his patient but denied that she was pregnant even though a recording of a phone call between the two discussed a pregnancy. DesJarlais describes himself now as a family-values Republican. DesJarlais also claims that his relationship with the woman was consensual and that at the time, he and his wife Susan had an open relationship.
The ethics complaint filed Monday was done so by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). The complaint says that even if both people wanted the relationship, it still violates an ethics law that bars sexual relations between doctors and patients.
“Tennessee law is crystal clear: Doctors are prohibited from engaging in sexual relationships with patients,” said Melanie Sloan, the head of CREW. “The only question remaining is, now that Tennessee authorities are aware of Rep. DesJarlais’ blatantly unethical and scurrilous conduct, what are they going to do about it?”
The Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners was sent a letter that says the case should be investigated simply because of the admissions of DesJarlais.
“It is hard to imagine behavior much more craven than a married doctor exploiting his position to conduct a sexual relationship with a patient,” Sloan said in a statement. “It is mind-boggling that when confronted with the patient/mistress’s possible pregnancy, this ardent pro-lifer urged her to have an abortion. How much hypocrisy can we stand? Where is Speaker John Boehner’s much-touted zero tolerance for unethical conduct now?”
Boehner chose DesJarlais to be the leader of a pro forma session of Congress last week. Boehner has not issued any comments or statements about the incident. Democrats for Life of America, an anti-abortion group, released a statement on the issue.
“Regardless if there was or was not a pregnancy or abortion, the fact is the Congressman encouraged his mistress to seek an abortion for his own child. That position is not pro-life,” said Kristen Day, the group’s executive director. “DesJarlais now faces losing his medical license due to the illegal relationship with a patient. The Romney/Ryan campaign recently pulled their endorsement of DesJarlais. It is time for my pro-life colleagues to immediately join DFLA in condemning this egregious behavior and call for his defeat.”
“There is only one pro-life candidate in the race and that person is Eric Stewart,” Day said.