IT HAPPENED TO ME: I Asked for Birth Control and Got a Form Letter Saying "No"

I felt truly embarrassed having to leave in front of a group of people because of something that someone thinks is shameful and not right.

Feb 4, 2014 at 4:00pm | Leave a comment

It all started early on a Wednesday morning. I had a lot to do that day, so I figured I would get the doctor's out of the way early. I've gone to this clinic for well over two years at this point, and I never had any warning of what was about to happen.

When I walked in, I noticed a stack of letters sitting on the desk, but I didn't take any note of them. I gave my health card to the lady and sat down until she called me up. When I mentioned I was there to get a prescription for my birth control, she suddenly looked up at me. She then told me that that couldn't be done. Taken aback, I asked why.

She pointed at the stack of letters on the desk. I took one and started reading it. I was truly shocked at what I read. This had never happened before. I was told I could come back the following day when a different doctor could see me. When I told her I worked, she gave me no other option but to leave and go somewhere else because he was the only doctor on call. 

It almost felt like I was doing something wrong. I felt truly embarrassed having to leave in front of a group of people because of something that someone thinks is shameful and not right. 

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Dear patient: Please be advised that because of reasons of my own medical judgement as well as professional ethical concerns and religious values, I only provide one form of birth control, Natural Family Planning. In addition, I do not refer for vasectomies, abortions nor provide the morning after pill or any artificial contraception. If you are interested in the latter, please be aware that you may approach your own family doctor or request to be seen by another physician. 

 

I had to go out of my way and find another clinic. Luckily for me, there was one not too far away. I still couldn't even believe what happened. I even mentioned it to the receptionist at the other clinic, and she was just as shocked as I was. 

Later, once I got home, I posted the letter on Facebook, just to get a general idea if this is even legal. (I later found out it IS.) I began to get reply after reply from friends who were outraged and upset over the letter. People started sharing it all over Facebook and it even made its way over to Twitter. By the next morning, it had been shared over 300 times! It was so wild to see such passion coming from so many people. 

It was a complete shock when people started contacting me about what had happened. I never in my life would have thought it would have escalated the way it did. When I was asked for an interview with a local TV station, I don't think I have ever been so nervous in my life. I just get up every day, like everyone else, and live my life.

I never, ever, thought that one little thing happening would cause such an uproar. It was really strange having people ask me so much about it and what happened. But I was still glad to share my story, because I of course want more people to know what happened and that things like this is still happening. 

The sheer support from my friends, family and even complete strangers was truly outstanding. I just hope that the message gets out enough for people to realize that when you're in a professional position, you have to leave your morals at home. You have to do what's right for the patient, even more so when you are working in a public clinic where you will face patient requests like this every day.

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I can't personally say whether things like this happen more in the States than in Canada. I'm not entirely informed about such matters. But what I do know is that I've lived here all my life and never has this happened, not to just me but to anyone I know. Yes, we do have radicals that are against such things as abortions and birth control, but before this happened, I've never met one personally. 

The doctor himself has yet to give a comment on anything that has happened. I also found out that the letter itself was never approved by the owner of that clinic, so in turn, should have never been given to patients. This incident should have never happened to begin with.

Regardless of whether or not what he did was legal, this still should not have happened the way it did. He should have talked to patients instead of hiding away behind a letter and twisting words around to make it seem OK.