Doctor Who Abused Birthing Mother Denying Medical Rights Surrenders Medical License

It has been a year and a half after a birthing mother's video went viral of a doctor cutting an episiotomy, despite the mother's numerous refusals and impassioned pleas for him to stop. Now, that particular doctor will no longer be practicing medicine. The advocacy group Improving Birth worked with the mother, Kimberly Turbin, to file a lawsuit against Dr. Alex Abbassi in June, but only recently have they learned that the doctor voluntarily surrendered his license in August. Advocates hope that this victory is just the beginning, and that this case will bring awareness to the abuse of childbearing women that is all too common. From the time the video went live on YouTube, public reaction was passionate. It was never that what happened to Kimberly Turbin was more violent than usual, or even out of the ordinary. It isn't. It is one of the reasons why doulas, or labor assistants, have become so popular. What made the difference was that the obstetrical violence, and utter disregard for the mother's right to refuse a medical procedure and being cut with a knife, was caught on video and posted on YouTube for all the world to see. For thousands of women, the video brought back memories of the violence that they, too, experienced in birth. Kimberly's courage in making the video public suddenly gave a voice to all the women who were shushed, ignored, or told to "just be thankful - at least you have a healthy baby." The video shines a spotlight on the very real violence that happens to birthing women all across the world, even in the U.S., where the medical system is theoretically supposed to be among the best in the world. It isn't, at least for birthing women, where the maternal mortality rate has more than doubled in the past 20 years. There are now 59 countries with better rates than the U.S. Some call what happened to Kimberly and many other women in childbirth "obstetrical violence." Others refer to it as "birth rape." Some simply say that it is a "denial of informed consent." In Ms. Turbin's federal lawsuit, as well as the police report against Dr. Abassi, the words used are "assault and battery."