An irony of the Church’s birth control teaching…

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This topic contains 11 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  burrisfam1 9 years, 4 months ago.

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    I recently read that women are allowed to be on the pill (by Church rules) as long as it is for a medical reason such as acne or painful periods. I think it is ironic that someone is allowed to be on the pill for acne, but not to prevent possible death from pregnancy/childbirth. I actually have a friend in that situation where the doctor has told her, “don’t get pregnant again; you’ll leave your 4 children motherless.” I think about her situation a lot.



    Hi Merry,
    I can see from your post that you have questions and concerns about birth control and the Church’s stance on it. Sometimes it’s easy to rush to opinions and believe everything that is told to you or that you read somewhere. The best place to go for information is a knowledgeable source, solid in true Catholic teaching. We are so fortunate to have the internet at our fingertips because there are so many sources for us to use in finding out more about our beautiful faith. Just be careful to check out each site to be sure that it is truly Catholic.
    We should never stop learning about our Faith. Sometimes we are meant to learn patience and tolerence in a gentle, quiet way. God Bless You and your family. If you need some addresses for some wonderful sites that I have discovered, please ask.
    Peace and Blessings,


    Actually, the stance according to Christopher West’s book “Good News about sex and Marriage” which explains the writings of the Pope regarding chastity and birth control says that:

    “First, let me state the moral principal involved, then I’ll address the pill specifically. as Pope Paul VI said in Humanae Vitae: ‘The Church does not at all consider illicit the use of therapeutic means truly necessary to cure diseases of the organism, even in an impediment to procreation, which may not be foreseen, should result therefrom, provided such impediment is not, for whatever motive, directly willed. ‘
    Suppose a woman had a hysterectomy to remove cancer, subsequent sexual acts would be obviously sterile, but the intention of the operation was to remove her cancer, not to sterilize her (A Medical reason to avoid pregnancy does not justify sterilization) The fact that she is now sterile is an unfortunate but unintended consequence of the procedure.
    Taking the PILL for medical reasons would be similarly acceptable, but for the fact that the pill is a potential abortifacient. If there were absolutley no medical alternatives for a mrried woman on the pill for therapeutic reasons, she and her husband would have to abstain from sex COMPLETELY in order to avoid the risk of abortion. The good news is, there are many medical alternatives to the pill.
    [West; Good News about Sex and Marriage, p.128]

    I would HIGHLY encourage you to read the above mentioned book. It cleared up a lot of my confusion regarding catholic practices.

    God bless,



    I’m not sure the church is ever ok with using birth control for acne or health reasons. First of all, there are MANY times a doctor will seemingly automatically prescribe BC if ANY female issues arise. Often there are other courses of treatment.
    Also, you have to remember, the pill is an abortifacient, meaning you could be having abortions while on the pill without even knowing it. The pill is able to break apart conception (conception is a baby).
    I go along with the recommendation to read Christopher West’s book. I read it after someone else on one of these forums recommended it. It REALLY is a beautiful book. I didn’t have any real reason to read it other than it sounded interesting yet it really helped renew, strengthen and even in certain instances, change my perspective.

    God bless…



    Here is an article on this subject:

    The Pill as Panacea

    Any woman who goes to her doctor with a complaint about her menstrual cycles is likely to walk out with a prescription for the birth control pill. The pill has become the mainstay of reproductive medicine and is prescribed for everything from acne to infertility as well as being commonly used to manage the symptoms of more serious conditions like endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

    And it is not hard to find a Catholics (including priests and apologists) who maintain that taking the birth control pill to treat a medical condition is morally acceptable even for a married woman because the intention in doing so is not to contracept, but to alleviate the symptoms from which the woman is suffering. And this is true up to a point. As explained by Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae, a contraceptive effect (an “impediment to procreation”) is usually morally permissible as a side effect of treating a medical condition:

    “On the other hand, the Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from—provided such impediment is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever.â€



    My 18-year-old daughter has been on the pill for 2 years. Her doctor recommended that she try it to control her debilitating menstrual symptoms (cramping, nausea, headaches). It has definitely helped–she no longer misses school or feels sick several days each month!

    Because my daughter is not sexually active, we haven’t been concerned about the pill’s abortifacient effects in her case. I just wanted to remind other moms of teen daughters that there can be good, morally acceptable medical reasons for a doctor to prescribe the pill.



    I would be concerned about anyone being put on the pill even for medical reasons. There are other things a person can do.

    Here is an article that may be helpful:

    The Pill: Questions and Answers
    by Sara Fox Peterson

    The following questions are answered by Mary Martin, M.D., F.A.C.O.G. of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Dr. Martin is an OB/GYN.

    Q: Is there ever a medical reason for using the Birth Control Pill?

    There is always an alternative which may uncover the problem which caused the gynecologic disorder for which the pill was prescribed. There is always a reason why women don’t ovulate normally, have intermenstrual bleeding, have pain or infertility. To prescribe the pill for these symptoms may delay or prevent a diagnosis.

    Q: Is it true that the Birth Control Pill’s third action is to abort if a baby is conceived?

    Oral contraceptive pill (OCP) package inserts and the Physicians Desk Reference are two widely available sources which say explicitly that one of the mechanisms of action is to prevent implantation. When the potential abortifacient effect is argued, it is the definition of when life begins which is in dispute. Physicians who consider themselves pro-life may continue to prescribe OCP’s with the argument that ovulation is prevented or that life does not begin until implantation, but studies have shown that ovulation occurs far more often now on low dose pills than the ones first introduced in 1960. And the definition of life beginning at implantation allows the manufacturers of IUDs (Intrauterine Device), emergency contraceptives (“Morning afterâ€


    I saw priests writing that the pill was just fine for acne on many conservative websites, and epecially ok for menstrual difficulties. I didn’t just make it up.

    I believe it was on



    Ok so far ive read that theres a number of conditions that allow the mom to become sterile morally, But what about if the mother has a condition that requires her to take lexipro a drug that to the best of our knowledge has not been tested and could be harmful to a newly concieved child. She weaned herself off of it very slowly and did good for a while (she has a very mild case of being bipolar) and has started to feel depressed again around 5 months after stopping. We had hoped to just use natural family planning but we know that if we make a mistake or nature just happens the baby could miscarraige or receive some birth defects due to her using lexipro in the beginning. Im not sure how many religious use view these posts but if any happen to would it be acceptable to use the natural family planning method but add an extra birth control device during that time(nothing that could act as an abortificant) to help ensure that she can be off of lexipro when we do concieve. Any input in favor of or against is wanted. Were gonna use alternative treatments if necessary.



    My daughter is HELPING me type so I don’t think my first reply posted.

    I’d suggest catholic answers .com or both have areas you can ask questions of a priest or an apologist. They have been VERY helpful to me. Pope PaulXI institute would also be a good resource.

    I don’t believe that it would be right to use any artificial means. When used correctly, NFP can be 99% effective which is more effective than some artificial means!

    That must be a very hard situation to be in, know that our family will keep you in our prayers. Especially that you will find your way to the answers you need.



    To say, “my priest said it was ok” or “this one priest wrote…” and then take it for fact, can be very dangerous. Just like us parishoners, priests lack obedience and sin just like the rest of us. No one wants to think that their priest would say opposite of what the Church teaches but it happens. Only the Pope is infallable. I think its amazing how we as humans tell ourselves what we want to believe sometimes. The truth is hard and its hard to follow and if you look hard enough you’ll always find someone (in this case, a priest) that will agree with you and make you feel all warm and cozy about what it is you’re questioning.
    I have a protestant friend who is on the pill, low dose to make matters worse. She and her husband have such a pure and genuine relationship with God and are of course Pro-Life so I thought she might want to know some things about the pill that her Dr. isnt telling her…wrong! They have this attitude (maybe because they both have their Masters and Im “just” a SAHM) like it almost doesnt matter if there is a slight chance that what Im telling them is the truth, they arent ready to have kids yet and thats the end of it. I just dont understand how we can say, “Lord, I surrender my life to your will; my family, my finances, my career, my soul….but wait, not reproduction!” I know this isnt right, but I actually look at my friend differently…Im by no means judging her but I guess I just feel let down becasue I thought that she trully had a heart for Christ, and for her to not even want to listen just hurts me….I cant imagine how much it hurts our Lord.
    I honestly dont know any other women who do NFP except for myself. But then again its something most Catholic women do not talk about. My only guess as to why is possibly guilt and maybe they just dont want to “hear it”. I am the exception when I should be the norm and it makes me so sad. Someone has asked me if I would be interested in giving a “class” about NFP and I almost feel like saying no. Im pretty sure I will not be well received. I feel like everyone in the room will be chuckling to themselves saying, “yea sure, and become a baby making factory!”
    Please pray for me ladies that I not be discouraged in sharing the truth. Any thoughts of where I should go with my friend who wont even listen? Do I just give up? Im so afraid of the guilt she might feel someday when she finds out the truth….I remember it all too well. Many blessing, Gina




    Please don’t let those who are lost deter you from speaking the truth and showing them THE WAY! This may just be God’s way of showing you an opportunity to share God’s word with someone who is seeking the truth! If you can, teach the class and know that God will bring those who are open to hearing the truth to you!

    As for your friend, I’ve encountered a couple of different pamphlets that have stats on the pill that maybe jsut what your friend needs. I can’t tell you exactly where to find them but if you log onto some different sites you may find something. They had stats on pill and breast cancer, strokes, etc. I hope this is helpful!

    Keep your head up….know you aren’t alone in your thoughts or in practice. We practice NFP too :)

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