Can you be a pediatrician in the US and still stand by your faith?


I would hate to go into work every day as a practicing Catholic knowing full well I’m forced to be an accomplice in sin out of fear of losing my license and not helping these kids out at all.
Addendum: what if you’re a nurse or physician assistant where a doctor is your boss?


Are you in med school yet?
You need to discuss this with your academic advisor


There are going to be more issues than the one you have brought up…part of your education, and a service available after your credentialing is Medical Ethics…its not a matter of not being able to be a pediatrician, its a matter of how you will exercise your faith.

I have worked in biotech for the last 21 years. I have had to refuse work, or leave jobs based on the use of cell lines that are over 30-40 years old, but come from aborted fetuses…its a personal decision.

Interestingly, in biotech, what is even more disconcerting, is it is not just an issue of those of us working in the field…patients, if they are really concerned with such matters, need to find out if the drugs they are taking come from these aborted fetuses, and then must decide whether they will take the drug or not…and this can often be no simple proposition, but pro-life is more than pro-birth, IMHO…we’re either all in, or all out!

Good luck!


One of my best friends is the sort of “example of a great Catholic” and a well established pediatrician.

Are you a member of the Catholic Medical Association? Do you attend the White Mass in your Diocese? Are you aware of the Conscience Protection Laws for medical professionals?


Thanks! Will look into it. I’m not a pediatrician yet. But certain states are very liberal such as Oregon, NY and California, are these rules protecting doctors in all 50 states?


No just considering career options.


If you choose pediatrics, possibly you could practice in a Catholic hospital in a state that has a conscience clause that allows the hospital and its doctors if they so choose, to not perform certain procedures?


The day may come where one must decide on where to live based on the amount of intolerance toward people of faith, as exists in many states.


The reason I ask is that MDs have much more autonomy than med students.
A practicing pediatrician can tailor their developmental teaching talks as they like, but students have to do whatever Teacher tells them to do, so be very careful what school you go to.
Also, this is where grades become important–the better the grades, the more choices you have in med schools. Some are more liberal than others.
Students have found themselves in situations where they put in a lot of time and money, then have to make very painful decisions because they are now being told by Teacher, "say this or we throw you out of the program ".
And no, you don’t get your money back…



State (the most updated list is published by Planned Parenthood’s “think tank” group)

If I were a med student, I would use this list to determine where I apply to school, to residency, etc.


I actually got asked the question regarding refusing service on an interview. It was horrible


I’m not a doctor but I am an RN, and will be working toward becoming an NP.

I understand where you’re coming from.

I wonder if you could bat that question back by asking if they are asking you about your religious preference, which is 100% illegal. I’d check with a friend in HR (a disinterested third party) or a friend in law school who can ask a professor on that one. That sounds like a slippery slope to me on their part. Because by law they can’t nail you for religious preferences - and I think (I THINK) that’s been held up in court.

By law, you cannot refuse care. It’s abandoning your patient.

You wouldn’t treat things like gender dysphoria - that’s out of your scope as a general pediatrician. Those kids get referred out to child psychologists anyway, as well they should, right or wrong.

As long as I’m on active duty, I have other laws and rules I have to follow - but there are accepted ways in my circles for me as well, and I use them as best I can.

Oh - I wanted to add - have you searched the Internet or even Reddit (there are legit things on there, not just “bad” stuff) for a Christian or Catholic physicians/health professions group? I’m sure one must exist. Also, have you talked to your Newman Center on campus? They might be able to help you as well. Maybe even hook you up with a mentor who is a practicing Catholic. There are more physicians who are than you’d think.


Thank you for the insight. I live in a very liberal anti-religion area so maybe I’m just blindsided by what I see in my daily life, when really I’m in the worst case scenario. Are there places to practice where you do not need to prescribe birth control when a patient asks for it? Or is it mainly in Catholic institutions?


Not really.

You could pass it off, but I can’t say that’s going to serve you well.

If that’s what you want, you’ll need to go to a Catholic hospital/facility.


I prefer to work in government so I have no interest in medical career of any kind at all.


I worry about retirement. I don’t want to go back working the floor of a medical center.

Texas is looking attractive…there are several Catholic health systems down there.


Say what you want about Mississippi, but we do have a religious freedom law. I worked for 9 pediatricians and 8 of them were Catholic, good practicing Catholics, too. I’m so happy they are now under no obligation to do things contrary to their religion. We live on the Gulf Coast, it’s great and there’s a strong Catholic community. Crime is low, real estate is reasonable, and we are going through a great development phase post-Katrina. Plus, we’re only an hour from New Orleans, a great city that also has strong Catholic roots. Come see us, you’d probably be pleasantly surprised!!


Ah! Yes - Louisiana as well.

There are probably many parts of the deeper South where one would encounter less trouble. Once you hit North Carolina (and I’m from there, so I feel I can poke a bit), things start to change.

(I can’t deal with the humidity myself. No offense.)


None taken! That humidity is something, but I’ll take heat over cold any day! My husband is from Boone, NC.


I am the exact opposite. I’d rather be stationed at Minot AFB, ND (and I’ve spent two months there in Jan/Feb when it was -52F wind chill) over Barksdale AFB, LA, where it’s 85 on Christmas Day. :rofl::rofl:

Yeah, I probably need an intervention.

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