A DOCTOR REJECTS THE SEDUCTION OF CONTRACEPTION
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
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
"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
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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