A Doctor Rejects the Seduction of Contraception

Author: John Mallon


by John Mallon EWTN News

Dr. Martha Garza, MD, a ob/gyn specialist in reproductive endocrinology from San Antonio, Texas, told groups at two recent seminars on Natural Family Planning (NFP) that medical students are never taught to recognize that birth-control pills are abortifacient. Dr. Garza made her comments during NFP seminars on October 26 and 27, sponsored by the Office of Family Life for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.

When she first discovered the abortifacient potential of the pill two years ago, it was a very profound, soul shaking moment, Dr. Garza said. She recalls thinking "Oh, my God, what have I done? What have I been doing to my patients?" The news came as a shock because in all her years of practice and training she had never performed abortions. Terribly unhappy at the discovery that the pills had the same effect, she sought out research on the abortifacient potential of the pill and found that such information was unavailable.

Dr. Garza said that although she always thought of herself as a good Catholic, it wasn't until a pilgrimage to the Holy Land three years ago, when her heart was deeply touched, that she realized she could not continue to violate Church teachings in her medical practice by prescribing artificial contraception, performing sterilization procedures and recommending many of the high-tech reproductive technologies which she came to realize did not permit the couple to preserve the sacred union and openness to life and their Creator.

In part, the doctor credits this conversion to the prayers of Discalced Carmelite nuns she has as patients. She had a large poster in her office proclaiming the "benefits" of the birth- control pill. The sisters never mentioned it, but one day when they left after an appointment, she happened to notice it, and feeling ashamed, ripped it down.

Dr. Garza is careful to point out in her presentations that she has no wish to condemn anyone, since she herself had once condoned these practices, but she merely wishes to describe the harmful effects of artificial contraception, and teach the risk-free method of NFP, which is not only safe and easy to learn, but more effective and accurate than artificial means. She shares her own conversion story in her presentations and how it led her to change her practice at great personal, financial and professional risk.

Dr. Garza advises her listeners to "be gentle" when approaching their doctors on this issue, because the vast majority-- like herself, prior to her conversion experience-- have never heard or been taught the fact that the Pill can cause abortions. She said that in her training and in her medical books she and her colleagues were never taught specifically how the pill works because it is not known how the pill actually works.

She said her professors in medical school, world-renowned specialists, would dismiss NFP as "the rhythm method" and say it doesn't work. "Of course rhythm doesn't work," she said, "but NFP is not rhythm."

She said she and her colleagues never heard about NFP in medical school because the professors didn't know the facts about it. Since NFP is associated with the Catholic Church it is dismissed as having no scientific foundation so "it can't be any good."

To this Garza responds, "I'm here to tell you as a reproductive endocrinologist, and as a fertility specialist, as well as an ob/gyn, that NFP has turned my practice around for the better. I am criticizing only myself here, because I see now that when I was knee-deep in performing invitro fertilization, which as a Catholic physician I shouldn't have been recommending, I was very ineffective in telling patients when to take their pills, when to do an insemination, or other procedures. I was as inaccurate in instructing people as the rhythm method, and these inaccuracies are continued now in much of the gynecological and infertility therapies.

"When I realized this during a training program at the Pope Paul VI Institute in Omaha, Nebraska, I couldn't believe it. NFP gave me simpler and much more reliable information to help people get pregnant!"

She noted that contraceptive manufacturers are tremendously influential in ob/gyn training. When she was a resident, every week drug company reps would drop in constantly pushing their products. These drug reps would bring them pizzas, food, and drinks, being a constant presence saying, "Here's a prescription pad, here's a pen, here's a trip for you, on us, to take a course we're offering, and here's our product." It is a very sly seduction, that starts in medical school and continues through our training, she says. She adds that never once in her training did she have one minute of training on Natural Family Planning.

Taken from EWTN News Features for Nov. 19, 1996 ============================

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