Submission to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario

Gift of Life Fertility Care Centre

Dear CPSO Members,

I teach women and couples how to understand and track their fertility using the Creighton Model FertilityCare™ System. I am writing in response to the review of your policy about Physicians and the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Several articles by major news outlets have documented the inconvenience experienced by a woman who wanted to get the birth-control pill only to find that the doctor on staff did not prescribe it. Despite attempts by these outlets to make it more than this, ultimately “inconvenience” is the right word for what this woman experienced. She lost, maybe, 30 minutes of her time going to another clinic.

What has been played up by these news outlets as an inconceivable travesty is common fare for the women who are my clients. I work with women who, in contrast to women who use the Pill, believe their fertility to be health, not disease, and therefore use methods of family planning based on their natural cycle. These women want to work with doctors who will treat their reproductive and gynaecological issues in accord with this mindset. Many of the women I have worked with would be glad if the worst thing that happened to them in their attempt to find such a doctor was a 30 minute detour to a different clinic. A significant number of my clients make regular 3 to 6 hour trips, each way, to see a doctor who will respect their decision to work with their fertility versus seeing it as a disease. Some have even travelled from other provinces, paying not only for travel but also hotel rooms and lost days of work.

To my knowledge, the woman in the above mentioned news articles never even interacted with a doctor. She was never judged for wanting the Pill, never pressured to get off of it, or never told she should be doing something else. In contrast, here are some of the things that women using natural methods have dealt with:

  1. More than once, a woman’s physician has pressured her to go on the Pill, despite her clearly telling her physician that she does not want that, after she has chosen to get pregnant and given birth. [Please note: “chosen” is the best word, as my experience in practice matches with the published method effectiveness for the Creighton Model of 99.5% to avoid pregnancy.)
  2. In one instance, an OBGYN was so insistent that a women use non-natural methods of family planning that she felt the need to get a letter from her lawyer before her scheduled C-section as she feared the OBGYN would tie her tubes.

In addition, clients have experienced ignorance, scorn, and downright rudeness from physicians who, horribly informed about modern methods of Natural Family Planning, chastise them for using the “Rhythm” method or no method at all.

This lack of respect for my clients’ desires is seen not only with their choice for family planning but also with their approach to pregnancy:

  1. A woman struggling from multiple miscarriages shared with me how callous her physician was in response to her distress regarding her most recent miscarriage; for him, loosing multiple unborn children was no big deal and he felt it should also be for her.
  2. A couple, given a potential negative prenatal diagnosis was repeatedly pressured by their physician to abort despite the couple telling the physician that they were morally opposed to abortion.

Finally women who are looking for real answers to their reproductive and gynaecological health issues, as opposed to suppressive/destructive approaches like the Pill, have sometimes found Pill-prescribing physicians more “dogmatic” than any of the physicians the media decided to highlight who do not prescribe the Pill. A number of my clients have been told by these Pill-prescribing physicians that the Pill was the only option to their problems. In case you were wondering, the Pill was not the only medical answer, as all of them have subsequently found out.

I find it ironic that, given the ubiquitous presence of the Pill and the ease at which hormonal contraception can be found – not only in private medical practice, but at any Public Health Unit or Family Planning Clinic – that the story of one woman’s inconvenience became national news. Meanwhile, the women that I work with continue to quietly accept the difficult and costly efforts they go to to find physicians who will work with them. These women are equally deserving of having physicians, such as those who only prescribe natural methods for family planning. Any attempt by the CPSO to change its referral policy and thus force such physicians out of practice is a clear statement by the CPSO that some women – particularly those who take the Pill – are more equal than others.

Gift of Life FertilityCare TM Centre,
Ottawa, Ontario

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