Birth control question

Hello there!

I would appreciate some help in answering a question from an athiest.

The question posed to me is as follows:

Another question though. I come from an extremely diehard Irish Catholic family. I also come from a family of very fertile women, meaning that I’ve got a regular army of cousins! Anyhow, one of my 2nd cousins had about 10 kids, and the doctor told her that she probably wouldn’t be able to handle another one. After having practiced rhythm her entire life, she went on birth control pills. What does the Catholic Church say about something like this? If she had gotten pregnant again, she ran the risk of severe complications and death…in this case, does the church accept birth control pills?

Any help you can offer to answer this question correctly would be great.

Thanks and God Bless you,

The Church teaches very clearly that contraception is evil. The Catechism, quoting Humanae Vitae, 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” (CCC 2370). The Church is also clear that “one may never do evil so that good may result from it” (CCC 1789). Therefore, contraception, including the pill, is not an option.

So what options does your friend’s cousin have? With “about 10 kids” already and health hazards associated with pregnancy, it sounds to me as though she has just reason to practice Natural Family Planning (NFP) (which is different than the rhythm method). Practiced correctly NFP is over 99% effective. If she simply cannot accept any risk of pregnancy then she must abstain altogether.

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