Britain: doctors who oppose contraception barred from specializing in reproductive health [CWN]


The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare has ruled that doctors and nurses who object to contraception or the morning-after pill …



so much for conscience rights and religious freedom!

Would they do the same to those who refused to help with blood transfusions?


Hormonal contraception, as commonly used, is not healthcare. It’s a lifestyle choice.


Well, that leaves pro-life doctors in a bind and seems to discriminate against Catholics (and others).

Whilst many contraceptives act by preventing the union of sperm and egg, some, including most IUCDs (intrauterine contraceptive devices) and the morning-after pill EllaOne (ulipristal acetate), also act by preventing the implantation of an early embryo. In other words they are embryocidal or abortifacient, rather than truly contra-ceptive.

Many doctors, of all faiths and none, have a moral objection to destroying human life and wish therefore to avoid using drugs or methods which act after fertilisation.

The Faculty may argue that they are not barring doctors and nurses from practising, but simply from obtaining certain qualifications. But as many job appointments will be conditional on applicants having these qualifications this is effectively also a bar on practice.

Interestingly doctors who have a moral objection to abortion are still able to complete the Faculty’s qualifications because the Abortion Act 1967 contains a conscience clause which protects them. But there is no law protecting those who object to destroying human embryos.



I think this is a fair restriction in all honesty. I could never work in a halal butchers, because I wouldn’t be willing to touch or prepare meat killed in accordance with Islamic rites. It would be unfair for me to take the employers time and money training me if I’m not actually going to do what he pays me to do.

Sexual health is a part of the job for every GP. If you’re not willing to do the entirety of the job your being paid to do, no offense intended but you really shouldn’t be taking their money or their precious time training you in a field you are useless to them in. It’s nothing to do with your faith or lack of it, it’s just ensuring people will fulfill their employment contracts.

There are plenty of other areas of the medical profession where they can specialize. It’s no different from the situations Jehovah’s witnesses are in where they cannot take up positions that require them to take or store blood.


They’re weeding out those with ideologies conflicting with their views on how society should be.

The message is clear: Get with our program, or get out and be marginalized in society.


Actually hormonal ‘contraception’ is also commonly prescribed for non-contraceptive reasons, such as acne and heavy periods. No offence but you should probably research a medication properly before dismissing it as a ‘lifestyle choice’.


I think barring Catholic GPs is unnecessary simply because these GPs would likely limit themselves to clinics/hospitals with a Catholic ethos anyway. It seems harsh to eliminate them entirely.

On the other hand, if you are a Catholic GP in a* secular* facility, and you are unwilling to inform patients about the full range of legal reproductive health options available, then there is a problem. If a non-Catholic goes to a secular clinic to ask about family planning and gets told “well there’s abstinence, NFP and some other things that I don’t want to tell you about” then that’s not going to go over well.


That’s a bad analogy. You as a butcher have lots of other ways in which you could practice your profession other than working in a halal butcher shop.

An OB/GYN in Britain does not have choices. This decision doesn’t just restrict where they can work, it discriminates against them in earning their credentials. That means they couldn’t even work outside of the national health care system. This isn’t a matter of choosing an employer or “taking their money”.

And worse, this means that Christian patients will no longer have any chance of seeing a faithful doctor since all of the available physicians will be pro-contraception and pro-death. This will effectively make it impossible for practicing Catholics (as well as other religions that do not approve of contraception and abortion) to get comprehensive health care without seeking it from an unaccredited provider. :mad:


Yes, it’s a huge problem.

When I was in high school my GP moved to another town, so I went to his replacement. His replacement knew when I made the appointment that I was suffering from terrible cramps and that I wanted my birth control renewed. He also knew that I didn’t have insurance.

After taking the appointment, and then taking my money, he called me into his office and told me that he doesn’t prescribe birth control for any reason and that I needed to go to GNC and pick up some fish oil for the pain.

It was only after being contacted by an attorney that my mom promptly hired that he returned my money. He essentially tried to steal my money in exchange for an unrequested and unwelcome theology lesson.

Anything that protects suffering women from predatory doctors like him is fine with me.


Good post.

Another question: what if a patient asks one of these doctors about contraception? Are the doctors going to answer the patient’s questions in a factual manner, or are they going to pretend contraception doesn’t exist?


It’s situations like the above that they are trying to prevent.


That’s not right.


It is commonly prescribed for other health reasons, but there are better methods. I have a thyroid issue that was affecting my cycle, but it would have been masked had I been taking the pill. Hormonal contraception was not invented for the purposes of fixing a woman’s fertility, or acne, or heavy periods.


Depends on the woman. I’ve had several opinions, and all think that because of my age and health, hormonal birth control is the best option for my endometriosis because it’s not invasive and it can slow the growth of what is essentially infected scar tissue. My pain is managed and knock on wood I probably won’t have to undergo surgery before becoming pregnant.


I’m glad your pain is being managed. It sounds terrible. I have a friend who suffered from endometriosis. She and I share the same pro-life, Catholic doctor. This doctor is a specialist in the Creighton system of NFP, and my friend went to her to get her endometriosis treated surgically. She is doing much better.


Does this extend to doctors who go into private health care?


I will have to have surgery, that’s unavoidable, unfortunately.

But because endometriosis comes back, they don’t want to go in and do it until I’ve had children, because scar tissue could be created and that new tissue with my endometriosis may inhibit conception, or even being able to carry to term.

The best bet for my fertility is to try to prevent it from getting worse, which the hormonal treatments have done. I was on these long before I was sexually active, and if my husband died tomorrow, I would still take them until I need surgery. I’ve been looked at by several doctors, including specialists, and they believe that it is the best path for my health.

Considering how much better I feel on them, I’m inclined to agree.


Do you commonly use a sledgehammer for killing flies or only if they are catholic?

You seriously can’t perceive of any regulation short of a draconian ban on believing catholics from practicing OB/GYN at all to prevent that situation?

Seems pretty simple to me that doctors with conscience objections to particular medications or procedures ought to be able to practice normally with a simple disclosure made at the time the appointment is scheduled. Personally, my wife and I would gladly pay extra for a doctor whose medical ethics are specifically informed and constrained by catholic moral theology.


In the United States, they should be allowed to be doctors provided they disclose the information at the time of the appointment, and that they have someone nearby that they can and will refer patients to.

To be honest, I do not know enough about Britain’s med school procedures to form a firm opinion. However, if the training is publicly funded, as I believe it is, it makes sense to refuse to give the credentials to candidates who refuse to fulfill a large and essential function of the job. If it’s privately funded, then by all means, allow them to be certified and go into private practice.

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