Friday, February 22, 2019

An Irish Doctor tells her story - Prescribing ‘Hormonal Contraceptives


In 1993 I went to the 1st HLI Conference in Malahide with my sister. It was there I became convinced of abortifacient nature of regular hormonal contraceptive pill I was prescribing. The studies were convincing and presented by a English lady doctor who worked as a GP  but did not prescribe them herself.

Now began a huge dilemma for me. I took on GP  locum work without declaring my new position that I would nor prescribe  oral contraceptives or refer anyone for male or female  sterilisations or having coils fitted or do implants or injectable 3 monthly contraceptive.

I began to notice a pattern of young healthy single girls requesting a script for the pill and also sleeping pills. Also I found many had medical contraindication for its use or fears around pregnancy that they could be helped to overcome.

I was then trying to justify not prescribing the pill based on medical data alone of safety and side effects .Needless to say, I was challenged by the senior doctor in the practise who contacted some of my patients and recommenced them on the pill.

After a few days in the  GP practise  with continual moral struggle with myself and frequent visits to the church

and having given in very  reluctantly to demands of patients to prescribe the pill, after  trying to convince them to  become abstinent if single or change to NFP for married patients, I made up my mind for certain that i would not again ever prescribe the pill for contraceptive purposes no matter what pressure i had to face. I got the courage to make my position clear.

This brought great peace and the inner anguish was over. I  followed this up by going to confession very soon after and chatting to a good priest.

  1. my difficulties were not over. Though I declared my position prior to taking on locum work and this was acceptable to the GP’s  I was replacing I had difficulty with some patients who got quiet  confrontational and demanding when I did not prescribe. I found unfortunately that after been on contraceptive pills for some time many were indifferent to its abortifacient nature when told. They just did not want to know.

I had felt very alone  in this struggle and  I was not aware of any other doctor who didn’t prescribe at that time .However  soon after  I got to know of The Catholic Doctors Association and discovered other doctors who did not prescribe the contraceptive pill either because of the moral issues. Of course our Catholic faith and good medicine are not contradictory, and more and more we are aware of how artificial means of contraception is injurious to health and  relationships. In addition the widespread acceptance of oral contraceptives paved the way for more obvious abortifacient drugs to become acceptable as in Morning After Pill  Gradually this has led to disregard for early chemical abortions and now as we see in Ireland an aggressive campaigne for the legalisation of surgical abortion. We are well down the slippery slope  and only a miracle  I feel in response to a widespread prayer by priests and people can save the nation from the current threat of legalised surgical and medical abortion.

  1. 2001 I resigned from my permanent post in Public Health on health grounds.

I was blessed to be offered employment with HLI where my catholic ethos was respected and welcomed.

I have since trained in ultrasound scanning at Kings Hospital London and in Crisis Pregnancy with Heartbeat International as well as internal HlI training. Last year I also completed a course in Natural Family Planning with NFPAI.

My work with Ask Majella Pregnancy Counselling is very challenging but its very rewarding to be involved in helping mothers in crisis and even whole families and saving unborn babies from abortions . Now too I have got more involved in teaching NFP. This can be used to enhance couples seeking to conceive as well as help other who have serious reasons medically or otherwise to postpone or avoid pregnancy.

 I ask your prayers for God’s  Blessings on our work and may HE inspire other doctors to get involved too in this work.

 Rita O Connor  MB