A Question on NFP


OK, I’m going to be controversial here.

A young teenage girl who is in the early stages of pregnancy decides to take up boxing or rugby “for sport, and to keep healthy” and to drink red wine to thin the blood and eat raw meat for protein, again “for health”. She knows that one of the likely consequences of playing these violent contact sports and eating and drinking this way will be to cause her to have a ‘natural’ miscarriage. Is it the same as having an abortion?

If this natural abortive methods described above are still sinful (and I believe that to act that way would be a very serious sin) how do we justify NFP as being different from artificial contraception?

NB, the scenario above is purely theoretical. I made it up to encourage people to think about the issues at stake, it does not refer to anybody I know of.


In your example, the girl is killing a person. In NFP, a couple is doing the same thing that I best you do 23 hours a day or more – abstaining from marital relations. It is not a sin to not engage in marital relations for a given moment in time. It is, however, a sin to put a life at grave risk, as was done in your example.


First, the teenager girl’s intentions are of great importance here. If she was truly to be doing these things purely for health reasons (and in USA…she shouldn’t be drinking at that age as it is illegal). Than she would not be conciously attempting a miscarriageat face value. However, it is highly unlikely that these things could be done without someone (particullarly her OBGYN/Doctor) telling her not to do them or she would be risking loosing her child. At this point she would have to make a moral decision regarding this threat. I’m assuming that you are implying that she is choosing these activities hoping for a miscarriage … in otherwords, she is intentionally attempting to end a life.

First and foremost, in the case of NFP, the issue of killing a human being does not come into play. That being said, this comparison does not really relate to any moral issue that could be present in the practice of NFP. However, for the sake of argument.

First we must clarify what form of ABC is used. Though, admittedly all are an afront against life, some are abortifacients -actually killing a life. This would relate to the presented scenerio, and the difference between abortifacients and NFP should be easily recognized.

In the case of non-abortifacient ABC - such as condoms - a different principle is involved. We must take into account the role of intercourse within a marriage - it is to be both procreative and unitive. Condoms interfere with both aspects of this. It is not procreative for obvious reasons. It is not unitive because it is accepting intercourse only partially. (see Theology of the Body, Humanae Vitae, or a book/DVD/CD by Christopher West for a more complete explanation).

A few differences:
NFP can be used to both help conceive a child and to prevent conception during times when serious reasons exist to do so (emphasis on the necessity of serious reasons). Under no circumstances can ABC be used to help concieve. NFP uses abstinence to prevent conception (which we participate in for the majority of our day anyway :D). In addition, NFP encourages spouses to be open about their sexuallity (through charting), continually provides the opportunity to discuss the possibility of when children would be able to be concieved. It also helps to curb lust in intercourse and focus on recognizing God as a participant in intercourse.

At this point, others will have to finish off…baby calls.

God bless


Finish what?, lol…you said it all:D


This scenario you proposed is nonsensical and has no instructive value regarding church teaching on contraception. It is not a valid comparison in any way. Therefore, the point I will address is contraception and the Church’s teaching:

The Church teaching is not based on a distinction between “natural” and “artificial”.

The Church teaching is based on the fact that each act of marital intercourse must be both unitive and procreative. The sex act cannot be altered.

Contraception alters the act.

Refraining from sex is always an option and in no way alters the act of intercourse.

Monitoring your fertility signs gives you information. You can choose to abstain or engage in sex based on that information whether you are trying to achieve or avoid a pregnancy at that time.

NFP is an alternative to complete abstinence, not to contraception.

closed #6

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.