Write a 1-1.5 page response to the Christianity case study within the second edition of your World Religions for Healthcare Professionals textbook. Answer each question for reflection that is included in the textbook.
Marie and her parents are practicing Catholics and they express that their ethics are informed by their religious tradition. Marie, age 15, came to see me with her Mom. She was seeking treatment for her acne. After conducting some bloodwork, I determined that Marie would be a good candidate for Accutane. Because Accutane has been known to cause serious birth defects, the government now mandates that any female prescribed Accutane must take a pregnancy test before starting the medication. Pregnancy tests must be taken on a semi-regular basis until shortly after completing the medication cycle. Usually, parents do not have a problem with this. It’s the federal birth control stipulation that tends to raise eyebrows.
Because Accutane has been known to cause serious birth defects, any female prescribed Accutane must also take 1-2 forms of birth control. Parents, religious and nonreligious, tend to express a concern about this, especially when their children are minors. But there really is not wiggle room around this federal stipulation. This stipulation seems to be particularly discomforting for devout Catholics. Marie’s mom said that she trusted that Marie would remain abstinent if prescribed birth control, but “I disagree with the idea in principal,” she said.
At first, Marie also expressed a strong moral conviction against the idea of birth control. She claimed that she felt it was unfair to force someone who has taken a vow of sexual abstinence before marriage to take birth control in case she broke her vow and got pregnant. She exclaimed that “the government does not support my religious beliefs!” Ultimately, however, very self-conscious about her acne, Marie eventually began to plead with her mother to allow her to take the medication, even if it meant she had to take the birth control. However, Marie’s mother said no. And, as Marie’s guardian, this meant that I could not allow Marie to take Accutane, so I prescribed her a topical cream to apply morning and evening instead.
Questions for Reflection:
How can Marie and her mother’s position be explained by their Catholic beliefs?
Is the government infringing on Marie’s religious ethics by forcing her to take birth control?
If you were the dermatologist in this situation, would you be comfortable with the federal statute that is in place, which requires people, irrespective of their religious beliefs, to take birth control?
Should there be some “escape clause” for people who have moral convictions about birth control?
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