Gynecologist and self-proclaimed feminist Dr. Jean Golden-Tevald, M.D., defended the Catholic Church’s controversial stance on the birth control pill from a medical perspective at The University Friday.
The “Women’s Health: We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby” event questioned the legitimacy of birth control pills as both a contraceptive and a medical treatment and proposed Natural Procreation Technology (NaPro) as a more effective and ethical solution.
Golden-Tevald opened the discussion by addressing the claim that the Catholic Church’s stance on reproductive issues is anti-woman. She refuted this idea by providing her personal definition of feminism: “a worldview that is supportive of women and values their unique qualities.”
Artificial birth control, according to Golden-Tevald, violates this understanding of feminism, because it disregards the unique qualities of women’s bodies.
NaPro, on the other hand, works in harmony with the reproductive system by helping to return balance to naturally occurring hormones.
Golden-Tevald advocates the ideals perpetuated in Theology of the Body, which emphasizes respect for the different abilities of the male and female anatomy.
“Sometimes we have a gift right in front of us, and we don’t see it for what it is,” Golden-Tevald said. “For example, a woman can grow a human in her own body.”
NaPro practitioners, including nurses, family doctors and gynecologists, consider the current popular approach to women’s healthcare damaging rather than respectful.
Golden-Tevald explained her view that the prevalence of prescribing birth control pills has resulted in a decrease in the quality of care patients receive. It allows doctors to overlook diagnosing conditions by treating symptoms for a finite period of time.
“If something is not working, [doctors] try to fix it. Reproductive health is the only field in which you break the system so it cannot work as intended,” Golden-Tevald said.
While Golden-Tevald did emphasize the pivotal role that Catholic medical ethics and teachings on the family have played in her life, she asserts that her primary motivation for utilizing NaPro is a desire to help her patients in an informative and permanent manner.
To clarify the issue, she screened a short film entitled “NaPro: A Quiet Revolution.”
The film included interviews with physicians who practice the NaPro method as well as patients who have had success with the treatments.
The issues that patients dealt with included infertility, repeated miscarriages and menstruation problems. Many had diseases that other doctors had overlooked.
The doctors in the film criticized not only the current medical situation, but also medical schools for failing to acknowledge NaPro as a legitimate medical option.
Following the film, Golden-Tevald opened the floor for discussion. She addressed the financial advantage of NaPro over birth control and the role of pharmaceutical companies in the prevalence of birth control.
At the talk’s conclusion, Golden-Tevald reinforced the feminist argument for NaPro and similar methods. She argued that NaPro encourages women to develop a liberating understanding of their bodies as God designed them.
“NaPro provides true freedom to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ [to sex] depending on what your body tells you. Birth control isn’t real freedom because you don’t know what’s going on,” Golden-Tevald said. “As human persons, we are made for love. It’s put there by God in our hearts.”