Excited and hopeful to start her first job as a newly licensed medical professional, physician assistant Megan Kreft was hired by a health system in Sherwood, Oregon. As a Catholic-Christian student, Kreft had planned to avoid working in both primary care and women’s health after having to seek a religious accommodation with her medical school’s Title IX office to avoid participation in contraception, transgender services, physician-assisted suicide, abortion, and sterilizations. However, open to God’s will, she was drawn to the physician assistant position at a local hospital system.
Upon accepting her position with the medical group Kreft quickly realized her religious beliefs would not be respected. Her first impression of the hospital system as accepting of Catholic-Christian employees was completely destroyed upon finding out she was expected to provide or refer patients for services such as vasectomies, hormonal birth control, and intrauterine devices at risk of punitive measures.
Because of her refusal to provide or refer patients out for these procedures, Kreft was told she could not treat female patients in their child-bearing years. She was eventually fired by the clinic when a young woman, who was listed on her schedule for a different medical situation, asked her for emergency contraception. After Kreft had left the patient, having refused to write the prescription or provide a referral for it, another clinician stepped in and prescribed the patient emergency contraception.
After this incident, Kreft was told by management that she had traumatized the young woman and broken the Hippocratic oath simply by refusing to write the prescription or refer her to another clinician. Soon after Kreft was given an ultimatum. She could either sign a document agreeing to refer patients to other providers for services that she would not provide, or refuse to sign and be fired. The clinic refused to negotiate any other alternatives and Kreft was fired in October 2019.
The actions of this medical group deeply impinged on her right to religious liberty and left Kreft unable to practice medicine as a faithful Catholic. While Kreft settled her personal complaints against the hospital in mediation with the assistance of the Thomas More Society, she has a civil rights complaint with the Office of Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services and is awaiting a response.