After speaking with you earlier today, I had a chance to go to the web site you told me about.* I was excited to see the reference to the book [Physicians Healed]. I wonder how his homily impacted those who were there that day!?
I also had a chance to think about how my decision on contraception was influenced by the “Spirituality in Medicine” weekend (retreat) I attended in January. I do remember a point that really hit home when the speaker, Fr. Miles Sheehan, MD, S.J., was speaking about obedience. He was making the point that 2000 years of the Churchs teaching might have more wisdom than my 30 something years of life experience. Even if one doesnt fully comprehend the reasons behind the teaching, there is still a place for obedience; then here I was with plenty of understanding and lots of reasons to follow the teachings on contraception! What was I waiting for!?
So, anyway, I had forgotten about that point of impact on my decision. I guess I had spoken to you about it during one of our conversations, and you remembered better than I.
I also wanted to put into writing my thanks for bringing into my life the messages contained on the tape, “Contraception: Why Not”, and the book, Physicians Healed. The day you gave me the tape, I was in a bit of a hurry, rather distracted by fussy children, and basically just accepted it hoping to avoid a prolonged conversation. I was thinking, “cant he pick a better time to talk about this?”
Once I got home and got the kids down for naps, I was ready to relax and decided to put my feet up and listen to the tape. That was the beginning of this whole huge change in my life. Janet Smiths message is very compelling, and the scope of its impact is very broad. She touches on the moral, social, medical, and spiritual effects of contraception. Its a message that applies to everyone! I was eager to have my husband [Michael Moell, MD, Pediatrics] listen to the tape, and after we listened to it together, we had no doubt what was right for us in our marriage.
Then, if I really believed in the truth about contraception, how could I possibly continue to prescribe it to my patients? I had already been aware of the physical side effects, but had pretty much left it to the womans choice. I had pushed the conflict with the Churchs teaching to the back of my mind. Now it was all brought to the surface, the indisputable Truth, and I needed to face it. Several weeks went by, and I did a lot of thinking. I knew what was right, but was having a hard time acting on it to make a change in my practice.
About that time, probably October 98, is when I found the copy of Physicians Healed either you or Vivian had left at Elizabeths New Life Center for me. Once I started reading it, I couldnt put it down. These physicians had already “blazed the trail” that I had been searching for. Their stories were very personal, and their courage to act on their convictions inspired me to take action.
As you know, I am no longer prescribing contraception, and instead have found many opportunities to promote the virtues of chastity and NFP. It feels great to know that I am an advocate for what is truly best for women, marriages, and life!
May God continue to guide and bless your efforts!
Ann Moell, MD
*http://www.cfpeople.org/FrRay/2sun99a.htm (This web page, which is a homily given by Fr. Raymond Suriani about the connection between contraception and abortion in todays culture, is available in pamphlet form from One More Soul under the title “Perceiving the Contraception Connection”.)
Physicians Healed is a book published by One More Soul consisting of stories of physicians who have chosen to eliminate contraceptives from their medical practice. “Contraception: Why Not” is an audiotape of a lecture by Janet E. Smith, PhD discussing the problems that arise from contraceptive use. It is also published by One More Soul.
Elizabeths New Life Center is a Pro-Life Pregnancy Support Center in Dayton, Ohio
Dr. Ann Moell is the Medical Director of Holy Family Prenatal Clinic. The Prenatal Clinic is located at Elizabeths New Life Center where she volunteers once a month and serves on the Board of Directors. She grew up in Centerville, Ohio, and now resides there with her husband Mike, a pediatrician, and their five young sons (Jason was born after she wrote this letter). They are members of Holy Trinity Parish in Dayton.