January 21, 2013

Some Catholic physicians, including those who do not prescribe contraceptives, are questioning the safety of allowing oral contraceptives to be sold over the counter, as the largest body of obstetricians and gynecologists in the U.S. recommended in December.

Dr. Kathleen Raviele of Atlanta, former president of the Catholic Medical Association, warned that because birth-control pills can raise blood pressure and cause strokes and heart attacks, such drugs should only be prescribed by a physician.

“A woman (being) on a strong medication like that without a physician’s supervision could be very dangerous,” she said.

Raviele raised the concerns after the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, through a committee opinion, recommended that birth-control pills be made available over the counter, much like allergy medicines and cough syrup.