Birth control

A sign at the clinic where Dr. Chantal Barry works informs patients she will not prescribe birth control medications. (Courtesy Joan Chand'oiseau)

A Calgary doctor is being criticized by patients for refusing to prescribe birth control at a walk-in clinic.

When Dr. Chantal Barry is on shift a sign at the WestGlen Medical Centre informs patients that the doctor on duty does not prescribe birth control pills.

Carmen Dumba, a patient at the clinic, said she disagrees with the practice.

"By not prescribing birth control you are actually harming somebody who's having sex who wants to not get pregnant," she said.

"And as a woman it's my right to have it prescribed, even from a walk-in doctor," she added.

The Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons has a policy that states doctors are not required to provide care that violates their moral or religious beliefs. However, physicians are expected to refer patients for care in a timely manner.

Pam Krause, head of the Calgary Sexual Health Centre, said she is shocked to hear about a doctor at a walk-in clinic refusing routine medical care.

"Easy access to birth control works," she said. "It prevents pregnancy and it prevents other social problems down the road, and it should be easily accessible in a city like Calgary from a family physician."

The WestGlen Medical Centre declined to comment.