Melissa and I went for our first appointment with our new obstetrician yesterday. The great news is that our baby looks healthy, and we got to see his/her heart beating on the ultrasound!
Unfortunately we both left with a bit of a bad feeling, and personally I was not feeling very confident in our new doctor, or our health care system in general.
It's not that I doubt her competence, but I do worry about her motivations.
When we arrived at our OB's office yesterday, there were posters and pamphlets advertising "Integrated Prenatal Screening: It's Your Choice." After a bit of reading in the waiting room, I discovered that IPS is when they test for things like Down Syndrome and open neural tube defect. So after you exercise your choice in whether to test if your baby is "defective", you then have the choice of what to do with that information. Isn't choice wonderful? Too bad the baby has no choice in the matter.
Never mind that the test isn't 100% accurate, with significant rates of false positives and negatives, and carries with it a risk of miscarriage...
Once our turn came up, we entered into one of the examination rooms, and plastered up on one wall was a huge poster that outlined all the various kinds of contraception. To me, this sends mixed messages: "Congratulations on your pregnancy! By the way, just to be sure this doesn't happen to you again, try using one of these..."
In the little pregnancy booklet provided by the North York General Hospital, there is a section about contraception. The text states that women must choose a form of contraception to use after giving birth. It goes on to discuss all the various methods of artificial contraception, and at the end there is a small section about natural methods. Too bad the only natural methods they discuss are the rhythm method and the withdrawal method, both of which are extremely unreliable, and are stated as such in the booklet. But they ignore more modern and more effective forms of natural family planning such as the Billings Ovulation Method, and claim that natural methods are useless to women with irregular cycles.
The doctor herself was very nice, and had a good sense of humour. She seemed genuinely happy for us. But she also did ask if we wanted to do the IPS test. When we refused, she said, "Ok, so whatever comes, comes, right?" And this is what makes me worried about her motivations. How should I feel about a person who would be fine with performing an IPS test, and then based on the results of the test would be fine with advising that abortion is an option? It makes me feel that she doesn't have my baby's best interests at heart.
Right now, I'm trying to give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she's just as uncomfortable with this stuff as I am, but doesn't know what do to about it. Maybe it's required by law that she advise parents of their options (it's all about choice, remember!)
On a bit of a more hopeful note, I'd just like to thank Fr. Jim (of Dappled Things) for his post today about Pro-Life OB/Gyn Services in DC area. I pray that centers like this really take off, so we can feel safe again when going to see the doctor!