Friday, January 22, 2010

The Effect of Artificial Contraception on Society

Blue and White Striped Umbrellas
I've been having discussions with several people on Twitter recently concerning artificial contraception (birth control). As a Roman Catholic, I believe that the use of artificial contraception is wrong. If people want to avoid or regulate pregnancies, I believe that Natural Family Planning (NFP) should be used. NFP takes advantage of the natural cycles of fertility and infertility that are built into a woman's body to avoid or regulate pregnancy, and can even be used to achieve pregnancy. Artificial contraception, on the other hand, is only used to avoid pregnancy. Some types of artificial contraception have serious possible side effects. For example, one of the possible side effects of using the birth control pill (BCP) is stroke. I personally know of a woman who suffered a stroke as a direct result of using BCP's.

Yesterday someone said that they could understand my opposition to the use of BCP's (presumably because of the aforementioned side effects), but they couldn't understand why I'm against the use of condoms. While I can see the benefit of using condoms to prevent the spread of infectious diseases like AIDS and STD's, I am against condoms and other forms of artificial birth control because of the effect that artificial birth control has on society. The easiest way for me to explain what I mean is this: imagine what the world would be like if artificial birth control was never invented. Some people might say that STD's would be rampant, and our world would quickly become overpopulated. I believe that the result would be different. If there was no artificial birth control, people would think twice about having sex outside of a marital context. This would result in a decrease in divorces due to marital infidelity, a reduction in STD's, a reduction in the number of unwanted pregnancies, which in return would result in a reduction in the number of abortions. NFP could be used to regulate the number of births to avoid a population explosion.

So, to answer my friend's question about why I am against the use of condoms, I say that it is not so much because it is bad for me, but because of the negative effect the use of condoms and other forms of artificial birth control have on society. I feel the same way about the use of alcohol. If I had it my way, the use of alcohol would be banned. I can drink alcohol responsibly, but I can see that there are many people in society who can't. Some people become addicted to it. Many people die every year at the hands of drunk drivers. I feel alcohol consumption should be banned for the good of society.

While I feel artificial contraception should be banned for the good of society, also, I do realize that if we just ban artificial contraception, and do nothing to instill morality in people, we will run into a lot of problems. In addition to telling people not to use artificial birth control, I also share with people the benefit of only having sexual relations within a marital context. It will be difficult to eliminate the use of artificial birth control until we can find a way to infuse morality into our society.

If people can begin to see the "big picture" of sexual morality, this world will quickly become a much healthier and happier place to live.

More information:

Papal Encyclical Humanae Vitae (Catholic teaching on the use of contraception) (Natural Family Planning Information)

The Catholic Catechism on Contraception

Contraception: Humanity's Rebellion Against God's Plan for Life


  1. Oh my, what a terrible argument.
    Very egocentric.

  2. Anonymous - Would you care to share why you think it's a terrible argument, and why you think it's very egocentric? It would be very interesting to hear why you think the way you do. Thank you for responding.

  3. Christian Prochoicer - All that comment means is that couples should have a serious reason for wanting to avoid pregnancy, such as health issues, financial issues, etc.

    Here are a couple blogs concerning NFP that you might find interesting:

    Thanks for responding!

  4. It doesn't seem to me that the Catholic church views "grave" in the same way you do. Obviously, you don't think abortion for health reasons is acceptable, so why now do you suddenly believe that a woman's health is a "grave" situation?

    The same with financial issues. You don't think that's a serious reason to have an abortion, so why is it suddenly a "grave" reason to you?

    The quote says that "contraceptive mentality" is wrong, and NFP should not be used as contraceptive. Yet you say, if people want to avoid pregnancy, they should use NFP as a contraceptive. Why do you go against church teaching?

  5. "All that comment means is that couples should have a serious reason for wanting to avoid pregnancy, such as health issues, financial issues, etc."

    But before, when I asked you if childfree couples should never have sex, you said that it was okay for them to use NFP. A lot of people are childfree just because they don't want children, not necessarily because of financial or health issues. Is it immoral for those people to ever have sex?

  6. Christian Prochoicer - Everything I've read about the Catholic Church's views regarding contraception is in line with my views. I'm not sure why you think my views are at odds with the views of Catholic Church.

    I consider serious health issues a valid reason for using NFP to avoid pregnancy, but serious health issues are not valid reason to abort an unborn child. If a woman with serious health issues is pregnant, she does not have to abort her child. Doctors should do everything they can to maintain the health of both the woman and her child. If the woman has to receive treatment for her health condition or she will die, the doctors have no choice but to administer the treatment. If the treatment results in the death of the fetus, it is an unfortunate side affect, but it is not an abortion. The unintentional death of a fetus during an attempt to save the mother is very different than the intentional killing of the unborn child via abortion because the mother "might" die if the fetus is allowed to live.

    Financial issues are serious issues, but not so serious where they justify the killing of an unborn child. Financial issues could be serious enough to justify the use of NFP to avoid pregnancy, however. The key thing to realize is that there is a big difference between avoiding the creation of the human life due to grave reasons, and destroying a human life that already exists, for whatever reason.

  7. ProChoiceGal - In answer to your question "Is it immoral for [couples who don't want to have children] to ever have sex", the answer is no. It is not a question of the morality of the sex act, it is a question of the morality of the desire to avoid having children. The Catholic Church teaches, and I believe, that is immoral for a married couple to not be open to the possibility of having children. The following is a quote from articles 2366 and 2367 of the Catholic Catechism that expresses this teaching:

    Fecundity is a gift, an end of marriage, for conjugal love naturally tends to be fruitful. A child does not come from outside as something added on to the mutual love of the spouses, but springs from the very heart of that mutual giving, as its fruit and fulfillment. So the Church, which "is on the side of life" teaches that "each and every marriage act must remain open 'per se' to the transmission of life." "This particular doctrine, expounded on numerous occasions by the Magisterium, is based on the inseparable connection, established by God, which man on his own initiative may not break, between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act. Called to give life, spouses share in the creative power and fatherhood of God. "Married couples should regard it as their proper mission to transmit human life and to educate their children; they should realize that they are thereby cooperating with the love of God the Creator and are, in a certain sense, its interpreters. They will fulfill this duty with a sense of human and Christian responsibility."

    This is what the Catholic Church teaches about the issue. I am not trying to force you or anyone else to believe this way. This is what the Catholic Church teaches, and what I believe. If you or any other non-Catholic disagrees with it, you are free to not follow it. Catholics who disagree with it need to seek deeper understanding of the teaching, rather than disregard it. To seek deeper understanding of the teaching, a good source would be the papal encyclical Familiaris Consortio (

  8. So basically, it's not immoral for them to have sex, it's immoral for them to not want children? Even though that can't really help not awnting children? :\

  9. ProChoiceGal - What the Catholic Church is saying is that if a man and a woman have no interest in having children, they shouldn't get married, because the primary purpose of marriage is to have children. Again, this is what the Catholic Church teaches as the truth. If you disagree with the teaching, that's up to you. I'm not forcing anyone to believe anything.

  10. But by saying that they shouldn't get married, you're also saying that they shouldn't have sex because (according to you) sex is only for marriage. So, from what I understand, if a childfree person wants to be a good Catholic as defined by Paul, s/he must either have unwanted children or never get married/never have sex. Am I right?

  11. I find it interesting that you hope to "instill morals". Obviously the only morals that matter are your own.
    So I ask you this: Are morals and religion synonymous? Can one exist without the other?

  12. The teachings that I shared in my post are from the Catholic Church, not from me. I'm not the one who defines what a "good Catholic" is. I leave that to the church.

    You need to understand that sexuality in a Catholic context is a "package deal". Either a person gets married and has sex for the purpose of creating children and bonding with their spouse, or they remain single, refrain from having sex, and focus their energies in other ways. Contrary to what some Catholics may believe, the Catholic religion isn't a "have it your way" religion. It's a "have it God's way" religion. Catholics are supposed to conform their beliefs to the beliefs of the Catholic faith, not the other way around.

    At Mass today the homily was about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and how each person is given unique gifts by God that can be used to serve him. People are called to use these gifts in a variety of ways. Some people are called to married life, and are gifted at raising children. The focus of a married couple is on the raising and nurturing of their family. Some people are called to a single life. Believe it or not, it is not a horrible thing for a person to remain single all of their life. The world does not revolve around sex, although it may seem like it does in our society today. Single people are able to focus their energies in ways that married people can't. The gifts given to married people and single people all work together for the common good of society.

  13. I don't particularly care much about the Catholic church, I just find it horribly sad that it's not accepting of childfree people.

  14. Thanks for the response, Lexy. The question you asked is a tough one, but I'll do my best to answer. I don't believe morals and religion are synonymous. I personally believe that human beings are born with some sense of morality (sense of right and wrong). It is the existance of this sense of morality that points to the existance of God. I don't look at morality and religion as two separate entities. I look at religion as a way to expound upon and further define/refine the sense of morality that we humans are born with.

    I hope that answers your question.

  15. ProChoiceGal - It is not easy to be a Catholic. The Catholic Church has many strict moral guidelines that Catholics are expected to follow. The Catholic Church cannot teach something that is immoral in order to appear more "accepting" of people. The church teaches what is true. If people don't agree with the teachings of the Catholic Church, they can utilize the free will that God gave them and join another church. As I've said before, the Catholic Church is not a "have it your way" kind of church. If it was, it would be like a reed blowing in the wind, constantly changing its teachings according to the whims of the congregation. Instead, the Catholic Church must be like a rock, steadfastly and unwaveringly teaching the truth.

  16. Thanks very much for your thoughtful and speedy response!

  17. "Contrary to what some Catholics may believe, the Catholic religion isn't a "have it your way" religion. It's a "have it God's way" religion. Catholics are supposed to conform their beliefs to the beliefs of the Catholic faith, not the other way around."

    As a non-Catholic, I'd like to clarify- Catholicism is a "Have it the Catholic church's way" not necessarily "Have it God's way."


  18. Christian Prochoicer - With all due respect, as a non-Catholic, your knowledge of what the Catholic Church is and what it isn't is very limited. I don't claim to be an expert in your religion. Please don't act as if you're an expert in my religion. Thanks.

  19. While I'm not sure I completely agree with the censure on birth control methods that prevent a pregnancy pre-conception, your argument has definitely given me food for thought. As a non-Catholic God-follower, one thing that is starting to become clear to me is that Christianity (at least, in the circles to which I have had access) has become alarmingly anti-children. We've drifted very far from the Biblical view that children are one of the greatest blessings that can come from the Lord. Instead of "building altars" in our homes to teach our children to know God and worship Him when they come to a church service (I've never experienced Mass, so I won't speak for that), we shuffle them off to a back room to color and play games. We make poor-taste jokes about couples who choose to have big families. And simultaneously, the United States is barely keeping up with the 2.11 fertility rate necessary for a culture to sustain itself over 25 years. The European Union fertility rate is (or at least, was, recently) 1.38.

    What's worse, the church as a whole is not so much pro-life as it is anti-abortion. If we were truly pro-life, there would be greater numbers of adoptions and foster parenting in Christian homes. With the nubmer of churches that are in this country, if we would take the Lord seriously when He said that true religion was to look after the orphans and the widows, we would be falling over ourselves to adopt children and to house mothers with unplanned pregnancies who would otherwise choose the abortion alternative. God bless the Catholic church for having the backbone to stand up and scream, "no!"

  20. Looks like only the Catholic church as usual stands for truth no matter what. Truth is not dictated by practicality, pleasure, popularity, difficulty, and truth does not change with time. This is a sensate culture, all Christian churches banned contraception until around 1930, when the protestant clergy themselves were having smaller families and so altered theology to suit their own needs, beginning with the Anglicans. The church does not adapt to the culture, the culture must adapt to the church.
    Something is not false because we wish it not to be so, and something is not false because it is difficult to do. Only the Catholic church has complete truth without compromise regarding all moral issues. Others are going to slowly accede to the demands of a secular and wanton culture, since they have no basis on authority, and their church is not found by Christ and always protected by the Holy Spirit not to err in its teachings.


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