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Growing momentum among Catholic medical professionals to defend ethical practice

Women networking at inspirational conferenceWhile it may seem like acceptance of NFP by the mainstream medicine is hopeless, there is a slow but steady undercurrent of change working its way through at least the Catholic medical community.

This shift was more clear than ever before at the Catholic Medical Association’s (CMA) annual meeting last week in Dallas, Texas. NFP was a staple topic — an entire pre-conference event was dedicated to the subject in addition to NFP breakout sessions during regular programming — and attendees reported an increased recognition of the need to stand up for and restore Catholic values in the process of restoring healthcare as a whole.

Such significant changes are owed in large part a small but dedicated group of doctors and researchers who are making inroads, including CCL’s Science Advisor Mike Manhart, Ph.D.

At the pre-conference — which garnered higher attention than expected, despite an extra fee and a competing event on end-of-life issues — such passionate experts led presentations such as Marguerite Duane, MD, MHA, FAAFP, who spoke on evidence of NFP effectiveness in postponing pregnancy; Richard Fehring, PhD, who shared evidence regarding its effectiveness during challenging transitional periods; and our own Dr. Manhart, who dove into the fascinating world of NFP’s effects on marital dynamics.

All of the talks were well-received and the event wrapped with nearly an hour of energetic questions and answers, covering topics even beyond the presented materials.

The full CMA annual meeting was very well attended as well, reaching 570 reservations with an additional boost on Saturday, likely from local doctors attending. No less than eight breakout sessions intentionally covered NFP, and all but one provided CME credit for those interested.

But the passion, as we well know, extends beyond just individuals seeking to further their medical education. Several NFP-only clinics exhibited at the conference, including Divine Mercy Care, The Guiding Star project, The National Gianna Center, OSF Health Care, Sancta Familia Center, and RelyMDBOMA USA, FEMM, FACTS, the NFP Center of Washington D.C., TeenSTAR, and a Creighton fertility care center manned booths as well, providing resources to attendees who may have interest in the social effects of fertility awareness, beyond just the medicine.

Again, fascinating workshops and community bonding aside, the real victory from this year’s CMA meeting is in its culture. Catholic practitioners are increasingly recognizing the need to stand up for their beliefs and fight hard against cultural medicine that seeks to drive out Catholic Teaching.