Doctors may refuse to prescribe contraceptives

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Right to Life NZ

Right to Life congratulates Dr Joseph Lee, a doctor at the Wairau Community Clinic for refusing to prescribe contraceptives to a young woman.

There is enshrined in law, protection for the conscience of doctors and others who on conscience grounds refuse to prescribe contraceptives. Parliament passed the Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion Act in 1977, included section 46 which states that no registered medical practitioner, registered nurse, or other person shall be under any obligation to;

perform or assist in the performance of an abortion or any operation undertaken for the purpose of rendering the patient sterile or assist in the fitting, or supply or administer or assist in the supply or administering, of any contraceptive, or to give any advice relating to contraception.

It is of the utmost importance that for the practice of medicine that we uphold the primacy of conscience. A doctor who does not practice medicine according to his informed conscience becomes the most dangerous man in the land. It was the subjugation of conscience that allowed doctors in Nazi Germany to murder disabled children in Germany and to conduct inhumane experiments on prisoners in concentration camps. John H Newman wrote,

In the depths of his conscience, man detects a law which he does not impose upon himself but which holds him to obedience. Always summoning him to love well and avoid evil, the voice of conscience, when necessary, speaks to his heart: do this, shun that. For man has in his heart a law written by God; to obey it is his very dignity: according to it he will be judged. Conscience is the most secret core and sanctuary of a man. There he is alone with God, whose voice echoes in his depths.

Doctor Lee also has legal protection for his conscience provided by the Health Practitioners Competency Act, 2003, section 174. Under that statute a doctor who refuses to prescribe contraceptives is obligated to advise the patient that they may make their request to another doctor or a Family Planning Clinic. Protection is also provided by the NZ Bill of Rights 1990, section 13, freedom of conscience.

Right to Life requests that the Medical Council steadfastly upholds the legal protection afforded to the conscience of medical practitioners. It is disturbing that the pro-abortion Women’s Health Action Trust falsely claim that “contraception is a basic health right for women, that should take precedence over a doctor’s personal beliefs.” This is an unwarranted challenge to the right of doctors to follow their conscience in the practice of medicine.

Contraception is not good medicine. It has no place in our health services and constitutes an assault on women’s reproductive faculties. Why does society continue to encourage women to fill their bodies with powerful and dangerous drugs? The fruit of contraception is an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases, ex-nuptial pregnancies and abortions. The solution is abstinence before marriage and faithfulness within marriage. The contraceptive pill is also abortifacient and may destroy a new human being before it is implanted in its mother’s womb. Contraception is part of a culture of death. Natural family planning, part of a culture of life, allows for the spacing of children in marriage and is 98 per cent effective.

Right to Life encourages other doctors to join the growing number of doctors who promote a culture of life by refusing to prescribe contraceptives.

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