Faith Based Contraception

The Washington Post shows that religion is having an increased influence on medical care, especially in OB-Gyn. An increasing number of physicians are practicing medicine based upon their religious beliefs as opposed to medical science.  The recommend “natural family planning” (a.k.a. Vatican Roulette) in place of contraceptives.

While I find practice medicine based upon religion as opposed to medical science distasteful under any circumstance, I figure that it is acceptable as long as the patient is aware of the religious beliefs and has other alternatives. I fear that in rural areas, or other area with physician shortages, patients may be denied modern birth control if their physician opposes it. A representative of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists expressed similar  views:

“If women know before selecting them, then it’s quite a legitimate thing to do and might meet the needs of many women and doctors,” said Anita L. Nelson of the University of California at Los Angeles, speaking for the organization. “But if you hang out your shingle that says ‘All-purpose OB-GYN’ and don’t offer certain services, that’s false advertising.”

Some women are happy to find gynecologists with similar religious views, but others are surprised and dismayed:

Some women, however, report being dismayed after stumbling into one of these practices without realizing what they were.

“It never crossed my mind that it would be an issue,” said Katie Green, 26, who was refused a birth-control prescription by Jones-Nosacek. “I was really irritated. It just rubbed me the wrong way.”

“It caught me completely off guard,” said Elizabeth Dotts, 25, who had a similar experience in Birmingham. “I felt like he was judging me and putting pressure on me. . . . I am the patient. I am the client. It should have been about me — what I needed. Not what he needed or believed.”

Many physicians are also critical of this approach, feeling patients are offered substandard care and are not fully aware of the difference between their physician’s practice and standard medical care:

Some experts say such practices are providing substandard care if they do not fully inform patients about all options.

“It’s not enough for someone to advertise ‘We provide natural family planning’ or have a sign up in the waiting room that says ‘Only natural family planning available here,’ ” said Jeffrey L. Ecker, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Harvard Medical School. “The assumption shouldn’t be that patients understand exactly what that means. The doctor has an obligation to fully explain all options to their patients.”

Some experts also criticize doctors who represent natural family planning as being as effective as birth-control pills, patches and other medical approaches.

“To suggest they are equivalent to modern methods is simply incorrect,” said David A. Grimes of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. “These methods do not compare favorably in terms of effectiveness, acceptability and continuation rates.”

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1 Comment

  1. 1
    ruzbelt says:

    contraceptives is very important to us to control the overpopulation..
    why should catholics church is unfavor of it ..
    in the brighter side contraceptives is very helpul to us..

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