Doctor Nice

Steven Hotze uses a warm, easygoing manner to peddle natural hormones to women, at thousands of dollars a pop. So who cares about credentials or documented results?

Friday, June 3, 8 a.m. Carol Costello is sitting in for Soledad O'Brien on CNN's American Morning. Today, there's hard-hitting stuff: Brooke Shields's postpartum depression.

Shields just professed in her book that she wasn't able to bond with her daughter in the weeks after her birth. When Tom Cruise publicly disapproved of her use of antidepressants, the story got hotter -- at least by American Morning standards. When you have actors of this caliber duking it out, you've got to call in a true medical expert to put a nation at ease. Someone who's trained in dealing with postpartum depression. Or, in CNN's case, you call in a Houston family practitioner in the midst of a whirlwind tour promoting his self-published book.

"Does Tom Cruise have a point about how women should treat postpartum depression?" Costello asks. "Dr. Steven Hotze is author of the book Hormones, Health and Happiness…Brooke Shields calls Tom Cruise's statements dangerous. What do you think?"

Hotze's religious organization states that doctors shall 
not work on the Sabbath.
Al Cameron
Hotze's religious organization states that doctors shall not work on the Sabbath.
Al Cameron

Hotze displays to the nation the slow-talking, warm-voiced, easygoing manner that thousands of patients from across the country pay thousands of dollars a pop to experience. At 55, Hotze is a nearly bald paternal figure blessed with down-home charm. In his slight, soothing drawl, he says that women experiencing PPD should seek natural progesterone replacement therapy. No one asks what his credentials are. His expertise is cited solely by the book, which he paid an Austin vanity press to publish and distribute.

"My daughter is getting ready to have a baby," he explains. "And she's going to take her progesterone to the hospital and take it as soon as she has her baby."

"Really?" asks an incredulous Costello. "Even though she may show no sign of postpartum depression?"

"Every woman has a dramatic drop in progesterone," Hotze says. "And that helps calm the water so they don't have those…postpartum blues."

"Thank you, doctor, for clarifying things for us," Costello says.

If CNN had allotted more time for Hotze, he might have had time to talk about the Hotze Health and Wellness centers in Katy and Houston. He might have had time to explain why his unconventional approaches to a variety of disorders are superior to mainstream medicine.

Costello could have asked why one of the country's leading proponents of "bioidentical" hormone replacement claims to be a board-certified ear, nose and throat doctor when no records of certification exist. She could have asked why leading experts in women's health issues say Hotze's methods are not supported by science and are potentially harmful. She could have asked why Steven Hotze runs an expensive one-stop shop for thyroid disorder, hormone replacement, yeast infections and allergies, when no medical records show Hotze has training in any of them.

Finally, she could have asked why Hotze tells his patients it's their fault if they don't get better.

Steven Hotze did not consent to an interview for this story, and it's easy to understand why. As a Christian fundamentalist who espouses antigay rhetoric, he's received his share of criticism. Hotze first popped up on the radar in 1982, when he supported a proposed Austin ordinance that would have made it legal for homosexuals to be denied housing based on their sexual orientation. Hotze's organization, Austin Citizens for Decency, proposed the measure to see if Austinites wanted to afford "special privileges to sodomites."

Because homosexual activity was illegal at the time, Hotze told the Associated Press, the groups he was fighting were "like thieves or murderers trying to gain political power," adding, "The public ought to be outraged."

Unfortunately for Hotze, the measure was defeated. But Hotze was not deterred. Three years later, he brought his fight to Houston. Here his group, Campaign for Houston, helped kill a proposal that would have made it illegal for the city to hire, fire or promote employees based on sexual orientation.

"There's one way we can avoid doing this again," The Washington Post quoted Hotze as saying. "And that's by electing godly, righteous people to office. We need a slate of candidates, from the mayor on down, so we can sleep well at night." Hotze's wish came true with the next Houston election, when his group assembled a sort of homophobe dream team called the Straight Slate -- eight City Council candidates who supported antigay legislation. Not one was elected.

Hotze was able to better articulate his views in 1986, when he was one of dozens of ministers, professionals and laypersons who signed the Coalition on Revival's Manifesto for the Christian Church. The coalition claims on its Web site to be a national network of religious leaders aligned in a mission "to help the Church rebuild civilization on the principles of the Bible so God's will may be done on earth as it is in heaven." They want all aspects of life -- government, science and education -- to adhere to fundamental biblical beliefs. These beliefs include the following:

• A wife may work outside the home only with her husband's consent

• "Biblical spanking" that results in "temporary or superficial bruises or welts" should not be considered a crime

• No doctor shall provide medical service on the Sabbath

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My Voice Nation Help

Been there, done that and they almost killed me. It's nothing but high dollar snake oil and then you have to spend more money to get straight and find out what a fool you are!

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