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Catholic doctors oppose call for over-the-counter contraceptive pills
| January 15, 2013
Posted in World News


QUINCY, MA (CNS)—Some Catholic physicians, including those who do not prescribe contraceptives, are questioning the safety of allowing oral contraceptives to be sold over the counter, as the nation's largest body of obstetricians and gynecologists recommended in December.

Dr. Kathleen Raviele, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Atlanta and former president of the Catholic Medical Association, warned that because birth-control pills can raise blood pressure and cause strokes and heart attacks, such drugs should only be prescribed by a physician. "A woman (being) on a strong medication like that without a physician's supervision could be very dangerous," she said. Raviele raised the concerns after the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, through a committee opinion, recommended that birth-control pills be made available over the counter, much like allergy medicines and cough syrup.

The Washington-based physicians' congress said that unintended pregnancy remains a major public health problem in the United States, accounting for half of all pregnancies. The solution, it said, is wider access to hormonal contraceptives. It did not mention that not all unintended pregnancies are unwanted or discuss the number of unwanted conceptions that occur despite the use of artificial birth control. The organization's committee stated that the risks associated with birth-control pills pose no greater risk than acetaminophen, the generic term for Tylenol. Dr. Ryan Welter, a family physician in Taunton, Mass., pointed out that acetaminophen itself poses risks when overused.