Doctors and nurses wishing to receive certification “considered the gold standards in sexual and reproductive health training” in the United Kingdom will need to agree to providing all forms of contraception, even if it’s against their religious or moral beliefs.
Doctors who do hold such religious objections say they’re purposefully being excluded from this accreditation program.
The standard-setting organization Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, which is part of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a professional association, updated its guidelines to address those who want to take its diploma training but “express a conscientious objection to contraception or abortion.”
The program for doctors and nurses is like a certification that confirms they have “attained the knowledge, attitude and skills required to deliver safe and effective sexual and reproductive health care in community, primary and secondary care settings,” per the organizations standards.
“A diploma trainee must complete the full syllabus in order to be awarded the qualification and this includes a willingness to prescribe all forms of hormonal contraception, including emergency contraception, regardless of personal beliefs,” the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare said in its news release about the updated guidelines.
The specific guidelines state that a failure to complete this syllabus “renders candidates ineligible for the award of a FSRH Diploma.”
“Doctors who hold moral or religious reservations about any contraceptive methods will be unable to fulfill the syllabus for the Membership of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (MFSRH) or specialty training,” the guidelines continued. “This will render them ineligible for the award of the examination or completion of training certificates. It is therefore probably not in the trainees’ interest to undertake these extensive training programs.”
The training program complies with established policies in England, which the organization noted “specifies that all adults should ‘understand the range of choices of contraception and where to access them.’”
Thus, this organization believes health professionals who wish to be accredited by it “should be providing information on, and access to, the full range of contraception.”
According to the Daily Telegraph, membership in this faculty’s accreditation program is important for specialists in the field and as a result, some who would object think it’s now exclusionary.
“It bars pro-life doctors from specializing in sexual and reproductive health and also makes it much more difficult for non specialists to get jobs in family planning or reproductive health,” Dr. Peter Saunders with the Christian Medical Fellowship said, according to the Telegraph about the new requirements.
David Jones, director of the Anscombe Bioethics Center, added that he thinks these guidelines are “deliberately to exclude people who have a conscientious objection to some or all forms of contraception from eligibility for the diploma and from membership of the faculty.”