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Old Feb 22, '12, 2:13 pm
CatholicMom123 CatholicMom123 is offline
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Join Date: March 25, 2011
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Default Is contraception moral when a pregnancy could be deadly?

My friend is a doctor and she commented regarding the current HHS mandate that when a woman's life would be endangered by a pregnancy using contraception is moral or even obligatory because to not prevent a pregnancy that could be deadly is irresponsible. What is the Catholic teaching in such circumstances?

Last edited by Jim Blackburn; Feb 22, '12 at 4:07 pm.
Old Feb 22, '12, 4:22 pm
Jim Blackburn Jim Blackburn is offline
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Join Date: May 3, 2004
Posts: 640
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Is contraception moral when a pregnancy could be deadly?

While your friend’s conclusion might be sound and noble (“to not prevent a pregnancy that could be deadly is irresponsible”), the end (i.e., avoiding pregnancy) does not justify every potential means to that end. Saint Paul wrote, “And why not do evil that good may come? -- as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just” (Rom 3:8). The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1756) explains it this way:
It is therefore an error to judge the morality of human acts by considering only the intention that inspires them or the circumstances (environment, social pressure, duress or emergency, etc.) which supply their context. There are acts which, in and of themselves, independently of circumstances and intentions, are always gravely illicit by reason of their object; such as blasphemy and perjury, murder and adultery. One may not do evil so that good may result from it.
Contraception is always gravely illicit and, thus, may never be morally chosen as a means even to justify a noble end. The Catechism (2370; quoting Humanae Vitae 14) states:
Every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible is intrinsically evil.
So it seems to me that when a pregnancy would endanger the life of a woman she should abstain from intercourse since pregnancy is the direct result of intercourse. Your friend’s noble conclusion might be better stated, “to engage in intercourse that could be deadly is irresponsible”.

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