W. David Hager

Claims to fame: OB/GYN; former researcher of sexually transmitted diseases at the Centers for Disease Control; Bush II appointee to FDA’s Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee; former president of Infectious Disease Society for Obstetrics and Gynecology; member, Physician Resource Council, Focus on the Family; member, Physician Resource Council, Christian Medical and Dental Society; hardcore evangelist, social conservative, stem cell research opponent; “abstinence-only” nut; anti-choice “extremist to the point of being delusional“; adulterer; divorcé; alleged rapist

Moral apex: Women across America would probably say it’s his crusade to drag women’s health choices back into the Dark Ages; one particular woman — his ex-wife, Linda — says it was his habit of repeatedly raping her anally while she slept.

But first…

What W. David Hager Believes

He is called by God to… do whatever it is he wants to do.

There is a War on Christianity — and he — a victim of religious persecution himself — will save you from it.

Birth control is verboten.

You can pray the pain away.

See:

Dr. Hager’s Family Values
Ayelish McGarvey, The Nation, May 11, 2005

Memo May Have Swayed Plan B Ruling
Washington Post, May 12, 2005

Dr. David Hager: Lunatic, Extremist, Rapist, Bush’s Favorite Gynecologist, and the Man Who Killed ‘Plan B’
Lean Left, May 12, 2005

Linda Carruth Davis/”Dr.” Hager Fallout
Liberal Serving, May 23, 2005

Women’s panel at FDA may be getting religion
Maureen Dowd, October 12, 2002

Women simply are not equal to men.

But a wife who prostitutes herself isn’t a whore:

By the 1980s, according to Davis [his ex-wife], Hager was pressuring her to let him videotape and photograph them having sex. She consented, and eventually she even let Hager pay her for sex that she wouldn’t have otherwise engaged in–for example, $2,000 for oral sex…

• All you need to do to stop an extramarital affair in its tracks is just visualize Jesus.

However

Eventually, reports The Nation, Hager had an affair (“with a Bible-study classmate who was a friend of Davis’s”), and Davis had a one-night stand of her own.

Why Hager’s appointment to the FDA’s Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee matters: Time explained why at length — while Liberal Serving summed it up in a single sentence:

Remember, Hager’s an ob-gyn specialist… influencing national women’s health policy.”

Or, as Davis told The Nation:

Sometimes Hager would blithely shift from vaginal to anal sex. Davis protested. “He would say, ‘Oh, I didn’t mean to have anal sex with you; I can’t feel the difference,’” Davis recalls incredulously. “And I would say, ‘Well then, you’re in the wrong business.’”

Or, as Mitch Connor muses:

[H]ow did the man get and keep a medical license? … Hager’s response was, “I missed,” defacto claiming that he had raped her, but his penis missed the vagina and instead entered her anally. …

[L]et’s not forget that Dr. Hager is a gynecologist, which begs the question, how often does he miss? “I’m sorry. It seems your fetus has been replaced by a piece of poop. Oh, wait. I’m sorry. I missed. Your fetus is fine.”

How this troglodyte won a spot on the FDA advisory panel: First, this is one of those appointments Congress doesn’t have to confirm; Little George can appoint anybody he wants. Second — and to no one’s surprise:

Hager was chosen for the post by FDA senior associate commissioner Linda Arey Skladany, a former drug-industry lobbyist with longstanding ties to the Bush family. … Despite pressure from inside the FDA to make the appointment temporary, sources say, Skladany has insisted that Hager get a full four-year term.

Jesus and the FDA
Time, October 5, 2002

About the alleged rapes:

Hager was married to Linda Carruth Davis from 1970 to 2002, when she divorced him, citing “sexual misconduct.”

Davis alleges that between 1995 and their divorce in 2002, Hager repeatedly sodomized her without her consent. Several sources on and off the record confirmed that she had told them it was the sexual and emotional abuse within their marriage that eventually forced her out. … “[I]t was the painful, invasive, totally nonconsensual nature of the [anal] sex that was so horrible.”

Davis says she wasn’t going to bring up the ugly business out of respect for their three grown children, but when Hager used the pulpit at Asbury College to talk about their divorce, all bets were off.

How a man manages to rape his wife while she’s asleep: Davis suffered from narcolepsy.

Memorable quotes:

“May I begin by telling you that no one who has written about me, my credentials or my beliefs has interviewed me. Any information you have read is rumor or innuendo.”

— W. David Hager
Quoted by Nancy Cain
Confirmed by Snopes

…despite this:

As for David Hager, after repeated attempts to interview him for this story, we finally spoke for nearly half an hour in early April. That conversation was off the record. “My official comment is that I decline to comment,” he said.

Ayelish McGarvey
Dr. Hager’s Family Values
The Nation
May 11, 2005

“selfish” and “sinful”

W. David Hager
Pronouncement on men who rape their wives
As Jesus Cared for Women:
Restoring Women Then and Now

(1998)

Memorable observations:

Now, some people will ask, “why did she put up with it?” Some will see the fact that this went on for seven years, that no charges were filed, that it took that long for her to fiile for divorce, as evidence for at least the “possibility” that she is lying. After all, some will say, “women do lie sometimes, you know.”

Yeah. Women do sometimes lie. Linda Davis “lied,” or at least supported her husband’s lies, for years—including during the divorce proceedings. Why did she do so? Well, let’s try to bracket off our automatic tendency to be suspicious of women, especially when they are critical of men, and listen to what she says now.

. . .

According to the Nation, “fears of poverty, isolation and damnation were enough to keep Davis from seeking a divorce.” “She had no money of her own and few marketable skills.”

That’s why women “put up with” abuse. That’s why the “lie.” Because they love their children—even when the children judge them harshly. Because they are economically vulnerable. Because their friends and families tell them, “well, you’ve made your bed, anad now you have to lie in it.” Because strangers read what they say and don’t believe them. Because they believe that divorce is a sin. Because they don’t know that marital rape is rape.

Because men like Hager have power, a lot of it, and use that power to discredit women under the guise of protecting us, and under the guise of religion.

Bitch Ph.D.
May 12, 2005

Augusto Lopez-Claros, [World Economic Forum] Chief Economist said in a recent report, “The education of girls is probably the most important catalyst for change in society.” But the US seems to be doing everything in its power to undermine women and girls. Only the briefest scan of news from south of the border shows abstinence-only programs, to pharmacists refusing to prescribe birth control bills, to the appointment of serial rapist W. David Hager to the Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs.

Dorothy Woodend
The Tyee
May 20, 2005

Further restrictions on mifepristone are constantly being proposed, and birth control technology development in general is perenially slowed by right-wing opposition. David Hager is the linchpin of religious-extremist obstructionism on these issues – he was appointed for that purpose, and has been granted secret and unprecedented influence on them far beyond his authority as a member of an advisory panel. And the results are significant: Plan B is less easily available than it could be for every woman in America, and in practice unavailable for many of them at the time they need it, because of this violent, misogynistic, perverted lunatic.

Allowing women greater access to emergency contraception could cut the unintended pregnancy rate in half and drastically reduce the number of abortions performed in this nation. These sound like goals that everyone can agree on, Democrat and Republican alike. Yet the FDA caved to right-wing ideologues and denied women over the counter access to emergency contraception.

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY)
Heads Should Roll at FDA

…a tragedy for American women and a dark stain on the reputation of an evidence-based agency like the FDA.

— Vivian M. Dickerson
President, American College of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists
on Hager’s backdoor macchinations
to ban over-the-counter sales of Plan B

Hager’s advice for women to read scripture as a cure for postpartum depression reminds me of how the Christian right wing tries to help homosexuals pray the gay away. Now, I’m not saying Hager is a closeted homosexual. Let me make that clear. Hager is a rapist, not a homosexual. (God forbid.) I imagine that if he was accused of being gay he would vehemently deny the charge. In Hager’s book, gays are an abomination unto God. (So say-ith the Lord) But, for the record, Hager has yet to contradict his wife’s account of their marriage.

I also find it remarkable that Christians like Dr. Hager turn to prayer in an effort to fix a problem with their own behavior. Free-will be damned! I can’t help but wonder how often this kind of thing goes on in the Christian community. It’s obvious that many Christians use Jesus to subjugate women, but how many good Christian wives are repeatedly raped by their husbands? What would Jesus do? According to Dr. Hager, Jesus would rape is wife. And why not? According to Dr. Hager, women are the basis for all sin and they must be punished accordingly.

— Mitch Connor
The king is dead, long live the king!
Basket of Puppies
August 8, 2007

Many will see this as an example of hypocrisy — that Hager preached one thing publicly and practiced another — but I believe that this would be an error. Hager’s private and public behavior strike me as completely consistent and it only seems hypocritical because people don’t fully appreciate the horrible implications of his public positions.

. . .

In Hager’s world, women are to be subordinate to men. His opposition to contraception is part of his public stance on this — women who can control their reproductive processes can be independent of men. His treatment of his wife was a private expression of this — she, being the woman, was morally obliged to service him in whatever way he saw fit and when she refused, he apparently thought he had the authority to force her. Both the public and private expressions of this attitude are consistent with each other and they are the logical outgrowth of the Christian Right’s attitude towards women. …

Denying a women’s right to say “no” to sex is entirely consistent with denying a women’s right to say “no” to pregnancy or childbirth. Both stem from the attitude that women, women’s bodies, and in particular women’s sexuality, must be controlled by men rather than by women themselves. This is an attitude prevalent throughout the Christian Right and is thus one of the reasons why the Christian Right must be opposed as an enemy of morality, modernity, and civilization.

Suggested Bible reading for Dr. Hager:

But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter:

For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her.

— Deuteronomy 22: 26-27

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