Featured Guest Blog: Oh, for Shame! But Shame on Who?

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailA non-practicing doctor for over a decade continues to call herself an OB, cherry picks, misrepresents, and maligns an excellent book (The Business of Baby) and author, Dr. Jennifer Margulis.

jody and amara

The author and her daughter.

Why do I care? My daughter is adopted. I don’t have a personal stake in the right to home birth discussion. But any time a woman tries to take choices away from other women — reminiscent of Phyllis Schlafly — we Thinking Moms should all be concerned. And we should collectively respond.

You may know who I’m talking about:  Dr. Amy Tuteur (retired). Yes, most physicians put retired after their name to indicate that they no longer have a practice in order to alleviate confusion. Dr. Amy Tuteur (retired) refuses to do so, but Thinking Moms who research credentials will not be misled by egocentrism.

Dr. Tuteur (retired) is a former obstetrician who let her license lapse in 2003, according to Slate. This is important since renewal for obstetrics is rigorous, and Dr. Tuteur (retired) has not practiced medicine in over a decade.

There have been many clinical trials published and medical advancements since Dr. Tuteur (retired) stopped practicing. It appears that instead of taking up a hobby like golfing, Dr. Tuteur (retired) spends her twilight years trolling the Internet leaving nasty comments on other people’s blogs. Due to the prolific number of posts and how quickly she is able to respond, there is considerable conjecture that Dr. Amy Tuteur’s posts may not be from just one person (Editor’s Note:  Sound familiar?).

Dr. Tuteur (retired) has cast her eighth-grade rudeness in such a wide net that anyone who disagrees with her paternalistic view of allopathic medicine is open to insult and ridicule. She attempts to discredit anyone who suggests that women should have a choice on where to give birth to their child. She slams Thinking Parents who choose to delay or forego vaccines. “There is no debate; there’s only pathetically ill informed people vilifying the greatest public health advance of all time,” Dr. Tuteur (retired) wrote in one typically hyperbolic and inflammatory blog post, calling people who delay or forgo vaccines “killers.”

There are so many smart, well-educated, thoughtful, hard-working, interesting people on Mrs. Tuteur’s most recent hit list that to be attacked by Tuteur is becoming a stamp of approval. (Editor’s note:  Again, sound familiar?) On Friday she decided to go after award-winning journalist Dr. Jennifer Margulis.

JenniferMargulisWithAlisonMacneil and Louis Kuo Habakus

Jennifer Margulis, PhD with TMR’s Mama Mac and Louise Kuo Habakus, co-author of Vaccine Epidemic


Books by Dr. Amy Tuteur (retired): 1. Written in the last century. With three Amazon reviews.

Books by Dr. Margulis (edited, co-edited, authored, co-authored): 5.



Amy Tuteur puts having an undergraduate degree from Harvard to shame. Instead of arguing the issues, Dr. Tuteur (retired) resorts to name calling and smearing other accomplished women.

I take exception to her calling Dr. Margulis an “anti-vax clown.” For one thing, Dr. Margulis said publicly just a few weeks ago on NPR that, though she has deep reservations about the current vaccine schedule and there is a growing body of scientific evidence that America’s vaccine schedule is harming our children, she is in favor of vaccines, has herself been vaccinated, and has chosen to vaccinate her children.

Dr. Margulis is a magna cum laude Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Cornell University. She was accepted for graduate school at Harvard University and the University of California at Berkeley (she turned down Harvard to go to Berkeley). After earning a Master’s there, she spent three years doing development work in West Africa and worked in corporate philanthropy in the United States. As the small-project coordinator for Africare/Niger, Margulis built a hanger for handicapped artisans, directed an off-season gardening project with hundreds of rural women, spent two weeks in the bush interviewing very poor women about their health and the health of their families for a needs assessment, and worked on a child survival campaign. She was invited to speak live on prime-time TV in France to talk about the problem of child slavery. Her writing has appeared in so many magazines and newspapers that I couldn’t list them all, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and on the cover of Smithsonian magazine.

Jennifer Margulis is also a former Fulbright Scholar, one of the most prestigious award programs in the world.

Oh, and did I mention Jennifer Margulis has a Ph.D.? From Emory University in Atlanta. And four children? And is part of an astonishingly intellectual family that includes at least one Nobel Prize winner (her uncle), a microbiologist who changed our understanding of evolution and whose name is in every Biology text book in the world (her mother), and the former head of the Math department at MIT, who solved several unsolvable problems?

So why does Amy Tuteur think Jennifer Margulis should be included in the “natural childbirth hall of shame?” Her biggest indictment of Dr. Margulis is that Dr. M has no credentials (see above). Her second reason for freaking out? The Business of Baby received two bad reviews.

Cherry-picking her information and ignoring anything that does not fit her point of view — as Amy Tuteur does every time she writes about childbirth, vaccines, and even breastfeeding (“There are real benefits to breastfeeding, but they are tiny,” Mrs. Amy wrote on April 6, 2012) — Tuteur does not point out that the majority of the reviews of The Business of Baby have been excellent. (Of the 94 reviews on Amazon, 56 are 5-stars; 28 are 1-star — many of which were written at Mrs. Amy’s request to her blog readers. One such 1-star review reads: “Best use for this book? Shred it and use it for your hamster.”)

Holly Scudero of The San Francisco Review of Books gave the book five stars:

This is a book that more people need to read, whether they have children or not. Knowledge is power, and it’s only through more people knowing the things detailed in The Business of Baby that anything will ever change.

Steve Weinberg of The Houston Chronicle:

Investigative journalism is, by its nature, about findings that go against conventional wisdom. Many investigative topics, however, are unsurprising. Do greedy entrepreneurs run filthy nursing homes for the elderly? Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, yes. Do factories that turn cattle and chicken into meat for supermarkets use adulterated products, unclean equipment and underpaid, undertrained labor? Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, yes.

Much of Dr. Margulis’ exposé, though, feels surprising.

Pregnancy and childbirth and infant care seem like they should be out of bounds when it comes to greed and corruption. There is no harm in physicians and hospitals and providers of baby products earning a profit. But unconscionable profits, particularly when the health of the unborn, infants and mothers might be harmed?

In addition to its investigative aspect, “The Business of Baby” qualifies as a parent guide. In easy-to-read, nontechnical prose, Dr. Margulis shows how to avoid safety traps and greedy sales mongers.

Dr. Margulis was recently in New York City. Why? Because the very same book that Dr. Amy Tuteur (retired)’s followers want you to shred for your hamster cage was nominated as one of five finalists for the prestigious Books For A Better Life Award.

Why was it chosen out of 500 submissions, I wonder?

Maybe because The Business of Baby is a book that will change your life. For the better.


Dr. Margulis really seems to have gotten Dr. Amy Tuteur’s (retired) goat. AT concludes her nasty blog with: “Jennifer Margulis has gone from journalist to joke, because of her endless stream of nonsense. Perhaps if she spent more time learning science, and less time worrying about me, she wouldn’t be one of the leading candidates for a spot in my Natural Childbirth Hall of Shame.”

I snorted my herbal ice tea out my nose when I read that. In fact, it is Dr. Tuteur (retired) who needs to spend more time in the actual field of science and less time personally attacking accomplished women who are working hard to make positive changes, to promote safe childbirth, and to champion safer childhood vaccines.

I could not find any clinical trials that Dr. Tuteur has conducted.

She is not affiliated with any medical institution.

She is no longer even practicing medicine.

I could not find any peer-reviewed journals that show how she has arrived at her bogus “scientific” conclusions (that breastfeeding is of little benefit, that home birth is unsafe, that women who have drunk too much are at fault for being raped.)

Luckily, Thinking Moms are not so easily duped. We research, we study, we read extensively, and we educate ourselves beyond our degrees to become the best moms we can be. We live in the real world, not on the Internet.  We make informed choices, beginning with choosing where to give birth, and we recognize that the decisions we make for our children determine how healthy they will be, and what type of people they will become. Nice try, Amy. But we will not be subjugated, intimidated, or made to feel disempowered by a schoolyard bully.

This particular schoolyard bully and her minions are strangely obsessed with Dr. Margulis. It appears that Dr. Tuteur (yes! retired) is everywhere all at once on the Internet (even trolls need a potty break and time under their bridge). (Editor’s note:  Again, sound familiar?) She lurks on Facebook pages then posts blogs when she gets a tasty morsel to chew on.

Spit it out, Dr. T (retired)! I eat trolls for breakfast.

~ Jody McGillivray

Jody McGillivray is a Thinking Mom dedicated to providing the best care possible for her daughter diagnosed with autism. She is a former K-12 foreign language educator and a volunteer autism legislative insurance reform advocate. She connects with families in states that do not yet have autism insurance mandates, especially for Applied Behavior Analysis, the most research based and effective form of autism treatment.

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38 Responses to Featured Guest Blog: Oh, for Shame! But Shame on Who?

  1. Laura J says:

    I happened to be one of Amy’s victims when I stumbled on her site and thought to post a comment. Wham, got belittled, nasty remarks and the least decent shred of my dignity left. I don’t know why she has to feel she and her group has to be so…attacking and with profanity that makes you want to stoop to their level. I am surprised that as an elder like she is, has to resort to this as constructive in her senior years.

    Thank you for publishing and to know I am not alone. It’s social media at its worst, with her stuff.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      I was just thinking about this phenomenon today, and I think it has to do with people who were bullied as children thinking that becoming the bully is the way to “win.” I suspect that many of them really have no clue that they are behaving like bullies, and that if their arguments were any good there would be no need whatsoever for that sort of behavior.

      • Laura J says:

        Hey that sounds right. A victim again from her harassment. This time it was politics. She posts political stuff, baits people like me, and I know everyone is having strong emotions about. I know they have fear about Trump. In fact, I got more comments for her on her blog than ever. It is very active. But she did not accept the freedom of expression, using profanity and gathering the sense that although biased and her blog is a public site.

        She like banned me for stating my stance and positive outlook for the country. It was very upsetting. I really tried to like her and her blog, even her book. I happen to be a writer, and sometimes I find a blog to gather perspectives and build my characters that way for my books. Yes I suspect they were bullied and have to be bigger than the other person simply leaving a comment. Now the majority of them are dragging on my thread. I’m glad I am not alone on this. I love physicians, just don’t want to go to school to be one. I have my BA degrees and that is enough for me, and my family! Thanks for your reply.

  2. Deb says:

    Thank you for a great article! I had three home births between 32 and 38 years ago with a physician attending. My daughter was recently pregnant which sparked a renewed interest in the subject. To my dismay, things haven’t changed much. The interventions may have changed but the underlying reason for many of the interventions have not. I am optimistic that the lawsuits brought forth for human rights violations in birth will validate woman’s choices and change the landscape for the better. I did read parts of The Skeptical OB and had to laugh. Like I said, some things never change…maybe just the name.

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  5. teresa steele says:

    Very nice writing…..love the comments as well!

  6. Lana says:

    Thanks for an awesome article praising the accomplished JM. She is one of my favorite authors and I have even met her once (I’m actually mentioned briefly in The Business of Baby, chapter on breastfeeding). She is truly a remarkable woman working on behalf of the common good.

  7. LoneStarTTMR says:

    As a long-time natural/home birth advocate, lactivist, attachment parent, I have often come across Dr. Amy’s malicious and unfounded criticism. She preys on thinkers and stirs up unnecessary fear around childbirth and child-rearing. Fortunately, her vitriol is often quite transparent. When one behaves like a two-year-old, most people respond by covering their ears.

  8. Revica says:

    Excellent points made. I’ve noticed that, since one of the bigger vaccine front groups started getting trailed with wide accusations of misogyny, industry has been dusting off or dredging up any female they can find to get rid of the stink.

    I would point out one thing though. I never agreed with Phyllis Schlafly’s rhetoric on women’s rights which was so outrageous at times that I felt like she must be some kind of performance artist: a highly paid working woman attacking working women, etc. But I will say one thing for her: she spoke out against vaccine mandates before most of us even knew shots carried risks. She’s spoken out against drugging children. http://www.eagleforum.org/column/1999/july99/99-07-28.html

    In the past few years, since seeing my own kids get so sick, knowing families of children who died from vaccines and so many others whose children very nearly did, my conception of things and priorities have shifted. I no longer really care what people like Schlafly say as long as they’re not lobbying for mandated biologics that have been sending generations of once-working mothers back to housebound Victorian chattel-status, changing diapers for decades and cleaning shit off of walls for children who will never grow up, never be independent, never stop having near-death crises, all while being hunted and harassed by public health Nazis and front groups who want those already iatrogenically maimed kids drugged and jabbed to oblivion or else.

    I honestly never thought I’d say that.

  9. Cynthia Maurer says:

    I had my last child at home with a midwife, twenty four years ago. She agreed to be my midwife because my history showed that I was very healthy and had given birth four times previously, another daughter with a midwife in a hospital setting. To assuage any fears that women might have about not being in a setting where emergencies are addressed, you should know that my midwife had an ambulance notified and ready should any problem arise. These women are trained to know when things are going right and when they are not. After having five different kinds of birth experiences from spinal anesthesia to having my legs strapped in stirrups after requesting not to have that done, to being in my own home, with my family nearby and my husband present and not requiring episiotomy or stitches, I can only say that home birth was the most rewarding experience of my child bearing years.
    No one, such as this seeming trouble making retired doctor would ever change my mind. Women have been giving birth for centuries without obstetricians and it was only in the early 20th century that male physicians found it lucrative to get into the baby delivery business, that the role was taken from these professional, experienced, empathetic women.

  10. Health Freedom says:

    One thing to understand is that there are so many doctors who are toxic and unable to comprehend and put together the facts. Being spoon fed info by the FDA, CDC and the AMA only serves to confuse and complicate the real issues at hand. If you stick to the facts and expose all the misconceptions they will have no where to go with it but to give in or give up!

  11. Nancy says:

    Great article!

  12. NNF says:

    Not too bright; who lets their professional license lapse. Duh!

  13. Brynn says:

    Really appreciate this article. So appreciate good information and sources!

  14. Susan DiNatale says:

    That is fn awesome!

    • Peggy C. says:

      Kudos! Excellent article and response to Dr. Tutera (retired). I had no awareness of the retired Dr. Tutera. However, I am aware of Dr. Jennifer Margulis and her work, publications. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Plan to continue following your blog and look forward to learning more. Congratulations on the adoption of your daughter. What a beautiful and lucky child to have been blessed to be a part of your loving family. Keep up the good work!

  15. SusanSuziSu says:

    You are the bomb.com! Awesome article. Love it.

  16. Christy says:

    Dr Amy’s style is antagonistic but she isn’t trying to take away women’s choice. She repeatedly says she’s against making home birth illegal, she just doesn’t want people to be able to pretend that they are trained midwives offering a safe service unless the research backs them up. Saying she’s trying to take away women’s choices makes you look ignorant.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      There is more than one way to take away choice. One way is to make an option illegal. Another way is to shut down discussion around it, which is exactly what Tuteur is doing. “She just doesn’t want people to be able to pretend that they are trained midwives offering a safe service unless the research backs them up”? I’m sorry, but that’s BS. Nowhere does Jennifer Margulis claim to be a trained midwife. There are, however, many trained midwives who offer home births that are as “safe” a “service” as the ones their clients will be offered in their local hospitals. Saying that someone who does her best to shut them up, down and out is not trying to take away women’s choices makes you look ignorant.

  17. I haven’t yet read The Business of Baby but, this article certainly piqued my interest! I looked at the book reviews on Amazon and was somewhat saddened by the divide between the one star and 5 star reviewers. It reminded me of the “blue states” and the “red states” divide. Oy!

  18. pranamom87 says:

    I personally was the subject of one of her blogs, just 5 short weeks after I lost my full term son during labor. She was even searching for things to discuss in the stillbirth support groups I was in. I now share NOTHING about my sweet little boy on the internet. she linked his photo and obituary 🙁 Please pray for this woman to find peace. She must suffer greatly in her own life.

    • AmyinIdaho says:

      @pranamom87 – I’m so sorry for your loss and then the unforgivable actions of a person who yes, must suffer greatly in her own life to treat others that way. Hugs to you and your family <3

    • Zoe says:

      Pranamom, I’m so sorry you had to go through that. Mostly Dr. Amy doesn’t bother me, but harassing mothers who just lost their babies is sick and all of her supporters are disgusting for supporting that. It would be like homebirth supporters trolling bornstill.com and using heartbreaking stories when a mother is grieving to further their own political agenda. She is scum.

      Thank you for writing this Jody.

    • Marlene says:

      She has done this to others who have had fetal/newborn demises as well. She has been harassing Jan Tritten & Carla Hartley as well as Jennifer! She doesn’t use rational thinking, she just gets on her bandwagon and bad mouths any healthy alternatives that’s not convenient for docs. She refuses to read any legit studies that do not agree with her warped ideas.

    • Amanda Stewart says:

      Omg that is horrible. I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m also sorry that woman did that to you and your loss. That is horrendous.

    • Cynthia Maurer says:

      That is truly pathetic that she would use you and information about your son to advance her agenda. As I read the above article, I had a sense of the pitiful state of this woman’s soul.

    • Michelle says:

      That tells you everything you need to know. Anyone that would troll grieving families is not someone with a worth while word to speak.

  19. Trish Carty says:

    Thank you for such a great article! Really wonderful!! Trish

  20. ProfessorTMR says:

    As a human being committed to making my OWN choices, based on MY priorities, there is no one I distrust more than someone who seeks to shut down discussion of ideas and research. Perhaps I shouldn’t say that “out loud,” but I think that these sorts of tactics only work on the weak-minded, those who desperately want someone to tell them what to do. Fortunately, the ranks of Thinkers grow every day.

    • Well said Prof! (y)

    • Sandy Burke says:

      Amen and carry on! I have personally bought 5-6 copies of “The Business of Baby” as I want to encourage young mom’s to think for themselves. I asked my daughter before she ever conceived either of my grandchildren to consider having a midwife. Happily, she took my advice and gave birth at home to both of my grandchildren, now ages 7 and 4. Neither of my grandchildren have ever had a single vaccine (also my suggestion.) They are both happy, healthy and vibrant children.

    • Zornorph says:

      Dr. Amy writes in such an abrasive tone because it’s the only way to cut through the clutter online and get noticed (and based on this article, it obviously works) but I can certainly see why some people on the opposite side of her argument get rubbed the wrong way.
      What I do not understand is this suggestion that Dr. Amy is trying to ‘shut down discussion’. I think the evidence shows that it’s quite the opposite – she is quite the chatterbox and is happy to engage those who disagree with her anywhere, often on unfriendly turf. She almost never removes comments from her blog, even when they are very unfriendly and mock her qualifications. Indeed, it’s those who disagree with her who are usually the ones removing her posts from their blogs. I don’t see her shutting down research – she often will discuss any relevant new study that comes out and give her take on it – it was MANA who was holding on to their Heracles data for years and Dr. Amy was the loudest voice asking for it. Anybody is quite free to post on her blog that they had a wonderful homebirth experience (and some do just that) – unlike other blogs who insist on ‘positive stories only’, she will sweep things under the rug.
      I think people should be free to give birth wherever they choose also. I would never choose a homebirth because if something goes wrong, I want a doctor and a fully equipped ER right there, but nobody is suggesting that everybody must do it this way. What I would like to see is a requirement that midwives have to carry liability insurance so if something goes wrong, there is recourse for the mother and/or child. I’m a land surveyor and I’m required to carry that – don’t you think it’s appropriate that somebody dealing in something as precious as a baby’s life also be covered?

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Hi Zornorph,

        I disagree that an “abrasive tone” is “the only way to cut through the clutter and get noticed.” If I thought that were true, I would shut off my computer now — and probably permanently. I also don’t believe that that’s what her “abrasive tone” is about. When people use ridicule as a primary technique for attracting attention, they are behaving like bullies. The “mean girl” is not about promoting intelligent discussion. It’s about marginalizing those who aren’t as “cool” or “popular.” And you know what? It’s absolutely unnecessary. If you’re really “cool” or “popular” or secure in your knowledge, you don’t have to ridicule anyone to get your point across.

        There ARE people suggesting that everybody should have their babies in hospitals, by the way, even if you aren’t. Many go out of their way to make it difficult for women to have a choice. I’m 53 and over the years I’ve talked to a lot of women who have found it somewhere between difficult and impossible to have a home birth because of their state’s certification requirements and/or insurance plan’s coverage. There is nothing wrong with the idea of liability insurance, but in our country litigation has gotten completely out of hand, so insurance premiums are something that are very hard to pay on a midwife’s income in many states. I have seen no obvious solution to that problem.

      • Zornorph says:

        Hi Prof,
        Dr. Amy’s stated reason for her ‘bitchy’ online persona is so that she gets noticed, as she says so in this blog post: http://www.skepticalob.com/2014/03/the-dr-amy-paradox.html
        One could argue if that’s the best way to go about things, but certainly in media, it’s a voice like this rather than a calm, quiet one that gets noticed in our noisy world. A bit of a shame, perhaps, but I’m an observer of politics and the same is true, there.
        I imagine there are people who think everybody should give birth in a hospital, but Dr. Amy isn’t one of them – or at least, she certainly doesn’t feel that people should be made to do that. I certainly agree with her that is considerably safer for babies and mums to be in a hospital during that time. If insurance companies are not wanting to cover a homebirth, that should suggest that they are concerned about the risk as well because all they really care about is their bottom line – they are not known for caring about social policy. I agree that insurance is expensive (tort reform is well beyond anything we would want to discuss in this space), but the alternative is births where if something goes wrong, there is no recourse for the mum or baby. This is why when there is a transfer to the hospital when something does go wrong, it’s the hospital that gets sued rather than the midwife because they are the only ones with insurance – even though they did not create the situation in the first place. I think you’ll agree this is not fair.
        As for certification, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask that a midwife sufficient education to be a CNM. It’s a really important job, after all, and most developed countries have this requirement. But if women want to use somebody without that qualification, this is okay too, but I think they should be fully informed of the difference as well as the lack of liability insurance.
        Thank you for your reasoned reply to my comment!

  21. Laura Hayes says:

    You ROCK, Jody! I laughed out loud through most of this serious and important article you wrote thanks to the excellent humor you interspersed (LOVED all of the “retired” references and other things you did with this woman’s name/title).

    Thank you for shedding light on the dangerous trolls who represent corporate interests, not to mention evil agendas, as some of America is still catching on to this fact.

    Best to you and your precious daughter 🙂

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