Becoming a Catholic OB/GYN and the Need for Others to Make the Journey

December 11, 2023

Dr. Monika B. Potocki, an OB/GYN and graduate of the St. John Paul the Great Fellowship in Medical & Surgical NaProTechnology, recently wrote an article for RFI’s Medical Conscience Rights Initiative. Published in The Pulse of Catholic Medicine, a digital publication of the Catholic Medical Association, Dr. Potocki reflects on the challenges of “Becoming a Catholic OB/GYN and the Need for Others to Make the Journey.” She writes:

I was a third-year medical student, and I was in a quandary.

I had been fascinated by pregnancy since the moment I was told, at six years old, that there was a new life blossoming in a family friend’s tummy. As a high school student, I spent much of my free time reading birth stories online. And as a college student, I talked my way into volunteering at a maternity ward; the coordinator informed me that they usually did not allow volunteers in that part of the hospital, but when I mentioned that I would be happy merely to be within earshot of crying newborn babies, she laughed for a solid ten seconds and assigned me to help the registrar with her birth certificate paperwork.

Thus, I had always hoped to become an obstetrician and gynecologist (OB/GYN). But as a devout Catholic, I could not ignore the fact that the field of medicine I adored was filled with things that my beliefs strongly condemned: contraception, abortion, and in vitro fertilization (IVF).

I was reduced to a state of near-panic. Surely, sterilization had to be part of the required curriculum of OB/GYN residencies; how could I even hope to graduate if I declined to tie tubes? Perhaps I might be excused from performing abortion, but how in the world could I avoid prescribing birth control? Therefore, I embarked on a campaign to fall in love with another specialty – any specialty – that was not OB/GYN. But it soon proved to be fruitless. My rotations in psychiatry, interventional radiology, cardiology, internal medicine, family medicine, and surgery all had their good points, but I could not imagine myself working in any of them.

Read the full article: “Becoming a Catholic OB/GYN and the Need for Others to Make the Journey.