Some ob/gyns object to contraception but few refuse to provide it

January 1, 2011

A national survey of 1,154 ob/gyns with a variety of religious affiliations found general support for the use of contraception, though some respondents had ethical reservations about specific contraceptive methods.

A national survey of 1,154 ob/gyns with a variety of religious affiliations found general support for the use of contraception, though some respondents had ethical reservations about specific contraceptive methods. Nonetheless, only a small proportion of surveyed ob/gyns would refuse a woman's request for a specific contraceptive.

Using a written questionnaire, investigators asked respondents if they had a moral or ethical objection to any of 6 common contraceptives and whether they would offer the method if a patient requested it. Respondents also were queried about their views of natural family planning and the importance of religion in their lives.

Overall, 4.9% of respondents had a moral or ethical objection to a contraceptive method, with 1.1% having such an objection to all 6 contraceptives. Yet most physicians who indicated they would not offer 1 or more contraceptives (6.8% of respondents) cited no moral or ethical objectives, suggesting that other concerns contribute to their willingness to provide specific contraceptives, according to the authors. The most common objection was to intrauterine devices, followed by progesterone implants or injections, tubal ligations, oral contraceptive pills, condoms, and the diaphragm or cervical cap with spermicide.

Lawrence RE, Rasinski KA, Yoon JD, Curlin FA. Obstetrician-gynecologists' views on contraception and natural family planning: a national survey. Am J Obstet Gynecol. November 10, 2010. [Epub ahead of print.]