For those in our pews who think it is impossible to accept and live by the Church’s teachings related to the transmission of human life — consider the healthcare professionals who, to maintain their practice, have been scorned, persecuted, threatened with “the necessity of learning how to perform abortions,” job loss and fear of lack of patients. Many of these faithful professionals had never heard what the Church taught while they were in medical school, but learned later.
Those I have met have had dramatic conversions which led them to make a firm decision not to prescribe contraceptives or insert contraceptive devices or perform tubal ligations, vasectomies or abortions. They’ve come to realize that they may be the only person in someone’s life who is willing to tell them the truth about dangerous side effects — both short-term and long-term — as well as the joy in offering new ways to look at their relationships. They are now free to promote self-control and self-mastery as virtues to strive for — not just in athletics, leadership, business — but also in one’s personal life. Some have even chosen to send personal letters to all their female patients, advising them as to why they will no longer be prescribing contraceptives. Many patients, to their surprise, responded with support and encouragement!
Sadly, they share that there continue to be mothers who put their young teen daughters on the Pill for fear of unwanted pregnancies — not realizing the levels of harm and lack of protection from sexually transmitted infections that can seriously damage the human body and even destroy future fertility. Are these mothers aware of the effects of chemical contraceptives? They do not completely shut down ovulation. If a child is conceived, that child (their grandchild) can be lost because of these chemicals. Who better than a courageous medical professional to perhaps be the only person that can graciously speak truth and reason into that situation?
These professionals with fortitude now sense that they are actively part of the solution — instead of part of the ever-increasing social problems in our society. They see the disintegration that Pope Paul VI predicted in his 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae. Many thought the Church was “out of touch with the modern world,” yet now they realize that it is a profound source of wisdom, and foundational for their work as physicians. They rejoice when they are able to share the reality of allowing the generative power of God to be present in the blessed act of procreation within marriage.
In sharing these truths with the nurses that had been on staff at a Lafayette location before it joined our Marisol Health efforts, many of them wept for joy and shared that they had never heard any of this in nursing school. These and others now serve in their vocations with a greater sense of fulfillment and enthusiasm. May we be a source of encouragement to these unique ambassadors of Christ-centered healthcare!
Lynn Grandon is program director of Respect Life Denver, a program of Catholic Charities of Denver. Learn more at https://respectlifedenver.org