More trouble for Dr. Coburn

Published September 24, 2004 3:19PM (EDT)

The Oklahoma Senate race -- which could ultimately determine control of the Senate -- gets even more interesting. GOP candidate Tom Coburn, thrown off-balance last week over allegations (first published in Salon) that he sterilized a young woman without her written consent and then wrongly charged the procedure to Medicaid, says he sterilized "lots" of underage girls during his medical career:

"In an interview this week on the Tulsa radio station KRMG, Coburn was asked: 'To your knowledge, could this situation have happened, or has happened with any other women?' Coburn, a physician, replied: 'I've done this lots to women who have come in with emergency things who have asked me to sterilize them, underage. When they've already had three babies.' Jay Parmley, state Democratic chairman, called Thursday on Coburn to detail 'how many underage women he has sterilized.' Coburn spokesman John Hart said the candidate would not answer specific questions about how many medical procedures he has performed. Hart called it a 'continuing smear campaign' by Democrats. Coburn and Democrat Brad Carson are locked in a tight Senate race for the post Republican Don Nickles is leaving after 24 years. The race could be pivotal in the battle for control of the Senate. The campaign became even more divisive with the emergence of details about the sterilization 14 years ago."

Coburn's comments probably won't help his campaign any. Already, several Oklahoma newspapers this week called on him to withdraw from the race.

By Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at

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