They can no longer prescribe contraceptives of any kind

Stephanie has a post about a town without contraception. I followed her link to get more details on the situation in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

The Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise reports:

Some Bartlesville women are taking issue with a recent directive prohibiting doctors affiliated with Jane Phillips Medical Center from prescribing contraceptives, saying the decision is not only an affront to women but could have an economic impact by driving patients away from local doctors.

Confidential sources told the Examiner-Enterprise this week that a meeting was held Wednesday to inform local doctors of gynecology and obstetrics that they can no longer prescribe contraceptives of any kind — if they are to be used as birth control.

Stephanie fills in the missing background:

Bartlesville is a town of only about 35,000 people. They have one hospital, Jane Phillips Medical Center. That hospital is part of Ascension Health, a large Catholic health care consortium, and nearly all of the OB-GYNs in town need to maintain privileges there in order to do their jobs.

Ah, one of those situations – where the Catholic church gets a monopoly on health care and uses its monopoly to refuse to provide vital services to women. The Catholic church has a monopoly on health care in Bartlesville so it’s exploiting its monopoly power to prevent women from having sex without getting pregnant. The Catholic church is using its power to deny women access to birth control – as if it were 1880 instead of 2014.

Back to the Examiner-Enterprise:

When contacted Friday, JPMC officials referred the E-E to Cheena Pazzo, director of St. John Health System Community and Physician Relations.

Pazzo offered the following statement via email:

“Consistent with all Catholic health care organizations, St. John Health System operates in accordance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Facilities.”

The ones drawn up the the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Why are we in the US allowing Catholic bishops to control a large chunk of our health care? They are bishops. Our health care is none of their business. And by “our” I mean all of us, including Catholics. If conservative Catholics want to do what the bishops tell them to do, more fool they, but they can go ahead – but that does not mean the bishops get to impose their religious “directives” on anyone whatsoever.

This should not be happening. It’s an outrage. It’s grotesque.




  1. Al Dente says

    It’s too bad the bishops can’t be prosecuted for practicing medicine without a license.

  2. Db says

    Agree that this is awful. But if the gov wasn’t so uptight on requiring a prescription for common birth control, the problem disappears.

  3. says

    How is this legal?

    [Whenever you bring up this topic, Ophelia, I wonder what the rules are for Catholic medical institutions here–we still have a few Catholic hospitals (as well as a few Jewish ones). I’ve done some poking about, but I still don’t know the answer. Any other Canadians out there know?]

  4. dmcclean says

    “Confidential sources told the Examiner-Enterprise this week that a meeting was held Wednesday to inform local doctors of gynecology and obstetrics that they can no longer prescribe contraceptives of any kind — if they are to be used as birth control.”

    Meaning that even the proponents of this bullshit acknowledge that it’s often medically necessary. They aren’t banning ovulation inhibitors, they are banning their use as contraception? Who the fuck decides? Do you need to sign some sort of promise that you won’t have sex if you are prescribed ovulation inhibitors for one of their other indications?

    Enough already with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. It’s outrageous. Worse is that the responsibility for the outrage has been so well diffused and obscured by bureaucracy that it’s not clear how to effectively protest it.

  5. karmacat says

    I’m often struck about how these bishops are basically practicing medicine without a license. To be a doctor, americans have to go through 4 years of college, 4 years of med school, then 3-4 years of training (more for surgeons). It infuriates me that they think medicine is so easy they can apply their black and white thinking on it. If there were a just god, he would make these bishops pregnant. Unfortunately, since there is no god I can’t pray for that happen. Sigh

  6. says

    The FFRF are definitely paying attention and talking about it. AA not so much, directly. I was thinking of tagging them on Facebook; I’ll do that.

  7. cuervocuero says

    But I’m sure the same hospitals are providing free pre-natal care and nutrition for the incubator. No?

    Or perhaps they’re making sure all the affected hospitals have baby drop-off swing doors and orphanage expansions added on to the adoption agencies setting up shop in the lobby. And food banks. And Magdalene Lundries where the fallen women can be closeted to do all the hospital linens and maintenance. I mean, the Laundries are a great efficiency Uterus owners can go in to the hospital to deliver and move right on to a different kind of labour with just as much penitential suffering. Winwin. /black sarcasm

    So, these hospitals. They were not cut discounts or had land donated to construct upon, by the municipal authorities? They were built entirely with monies from the Church and rely only on technology and skills invented by Catholics? They receive no tax monies for their bottom lines? They don’t rely on municipal utilities and infrastructure to function?

    It’s nothing less than Gone Galt withdrawing of services amid posturing of noble purpose. but I suspect they would not understand if the city cut off power and water to religious domiciles and churches within its bounds.

  8. Amy Clare says

    @dmcclean #5 – Indeed, and I expect a sudden and mysterious surge of diagnoses of dysmenorrhea in the female population of Bartlesville… :/


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