Doctor refuses to prescribe birth control pill

A Blenheim woman says her GP refused to give her the birth control pill because she had not yet done her “reproductive job”.

Melissa Pont, 23, said her family practitioner, Dr Joseph Lee, would not renew her pill prescription, instead lecturing her on a baby’s right to live and on using the rhythm method.

Lee is a doctor at the Wairau Community Clinic in Blenheim. He is a catholic and has four children.

He told the Herald on Sunday “I don’t want to interfere with the process of producing life.”

Lee also does not prescribe condoms, and encourages patients as young as 16 to use the rhythm method.

The only circumstances in which he would prescribe the contraceptive pill would be if a woman wanted space between pregnancies, or had at least four children.

“I think they’ve already done their reproductive job”.

He acknowledged natural birth control was “not very reliable”.

The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) says a doctor who refused to prescribe the contraceptive pill to a woman was within his rights, but that it was wrong to share his views on the matter.

Melissa Pont was denied the pill by her doctor Joseph Lee who has been working at the Wairau Community Clinic in Blenheim for about a year.

She was instead told about other contraception options such as tracking her reproductive cycle.

NZMA chairperson Mark Peterson says the code of ethics allows doctors to not prescribe the pill, but they do have to refer the patient to another doctor.

Peterson says it is inappropriate for a doctor to discuss personal ethical views.

Wairau Community Clinic lead GP Scott Cameron said a pamphlet at reception warned that some doctors did not prescribe birth control, and staff tried to screen patients. He would consider installing a sign.

The clinic is run by the Marlborough Public Health Organisation. Chief executive Beth Pester said Lee’s choice not to prescribe was “his ethical choice”, but she was concerned he discussed natural birth control with patients as young as 16, and would talk to him about that.



Additional reading

News category: Top Story.

Tags: , , ,