Coping w/ spouse using contraception

For anyone in this situation, I would appreciate some advice in handling this.

A few months back, I posted a thread regarding tubal ligation and how through much intercession my wife “miraculously” decided not to go through with the procedure. I thought I was in the clear…but low-and-behold, she decides (after speaking with her “Catholic” OB-GYN) to get an IUD.

Of course there were her initial concerns of the IUD being an abortificant. However, her doctor told her this kind isn’t like that. Of course I asked on numerous occasions for my wife to get me more information on this new IUD I’ve never heard of, so I could do my own research (I’m an accountant and always skeptical of things, as is my nature). Needless to say, no info came my way and she had the IUD inserted. All I was told is this IUD only kills the sperm and does nothing else. I can’t find this on the internet anywhere some I’m thinking either her OB/GYN is misinformed herself, my wife didn’t hear her, or my wife just isn’t telling me everything (which I doubt).

Now my concern is:
a) Can I still have sexual relations with my wife, in good moral conscience? My original thought is no.
b) Can my wife still receive communion as long as we don’t have sex. I’m wondering if it’s like having a gun, only you’re not guilty of murder unless you use the weapon for an unintended purpose.
c) Can I still receive communion? In having sex with my wife, I’m fulfilling part of the marital commitment. However, am I condoning what she did and putting at risk a child to be possibly aborted and therefore taking part in a mortal sin?

Any thoughts or words of advice would be much appreciated. :slight_smile:

According to Wikipedia

“In the United States, there are two types of intrauterine contraceptive available: the copper Paragard and the hormonal Mirena. Both of these contraceptives are referred to as IUDs.[4]

You can link from there to the manufacturers websites…

You should talk to your priest.

The Vademecum for Confessors addresses this. Keep in mind, this document is written as guidance for *priests *hearing confessions, therefore you should still talk to your priest about your situation.

  1. Special difficulties are presented by cases of cooperation in the sin of a spouse who voluntarily renders the unitive act infecund. In the first place, it is necessary to distinguish cooperation in the proper sense, from violence or unjust imposition on the part of one of the spouses, which the other spouse in fact cannot resist.46, 561).] This cooperation can be licit when the three following conditions are jointly met:

when the action of the cooperating spouse is not already illicit in itself; when proportionally grave reasons exist for cooperating in the sin of the other spouse; when one is seeking to help the other spouse to desist from such conduct (patiently, with prayer, charity and dialogue; although not necessarily in that moment, nor on every single occasion).

  1. Furthermore, it is necessary to carefully evaluate the question of cooperation in evil when recourse is made to means which can have an abortifacient effect.

As to the abortifacient nature of the IUD, you first need to determine the manufacturer and then go to their website. If you go to Mirena’s website and look at the Physician’s Prescribing Info. They do not try to hide the fact that there is a high frequency of ovulation on Mirena, and they clearly state both sperm inhibition AND endometrium thinning are the mechanisms of the IUD. That would trouble me greatly.

From a quick look at the Mirena link for the general public, under “How Mirena Works” it clearly shows it has abortifacient properites. It’s primary mechanism is to inhibit sperm, but it also thins the uterine lining. It states that it does NOT prevent the egg from releasing from the ovary.

So, to me the IUD would be very problematic.

Sometimes the IUD can be used as a medical treatment for menstruation problems (to make things more regular). I’m not sure of the reasoning for the IUD in your wife’s case. However, if YOU use NFP, you are still fine. If you don’t have relations during the fertile period, there is no abortifacient concern. Hope that helps.

I am not sure where you got your information, but it’s not that simple.

The hormones in the IUD interfere with the signs of fertility and therefore NFP **cannot **be used if a woman has an IUD.

And, since the wife refuses NFP in the first place it’s a moot point.

I’m in a similar situation . . . that’s what my wife’s OB GYN told her about the IUD. I had the same concern as the OP, so I called CUF. The person I spoke with told me we could still use NFP. If this is not correct, I need to know. My wife is ok with NFP, but wants the IUD to regulate things. Do I now have the same questions as the OP?

I don’t know who CUF is, but they clearly do not know much about NFP. You cannot use NFP in conjunction with any contraceptive device that emits hormones.

Your wife should get another opinion, perhaps contacting to discuss her problems.

Wanting to “regulate” things seems like a very problematic approach to her cycle and the high potential for an abortifacient effect of this device should be enough to steer you both away from it and from the Pill which works the same way.

If she is having serious health issues, getting one of these devices will not treat that condition. So, I do recommend you discuss the situation with your NFP instructor AND with a pro-life doctor. Check the Pope Paul VI Institute and also go to

Thank you everyone for your responses. I read a post dated Dec 16th regarding this. According the the Vademecum for Confessors, it seems that to avoid the greater evil of divorce a spouse is to engage in the marital act.

However, I think I have a disagreement with that. Isn’t murder a greater evil than divorce? I’ll have to read the Vademecum myself to see what it really says.

I have left this issue up to the Lord, and so far I’ve been celebate and no issues have come up yet. Thank you all for your responses and direction.

I have no good opinion on this matter, but I do want to say that I absolutely respect you and your decision and your faith and wanting to do your best inspires me. :):thumbsup:

You’re in my prayers.

1ke–thank you for the information you posted…I for one, found it helpful.

To the OP–(and others)…please tell your wife not to get the IUD. A coworker/friend of mine a few weeks ago, had one inserted (and she was trying to get me to do this too:( but I told her that I had no plan on doing such a thing–she knows I’m Catholic and my stance, so I was somewhat taken aback by her bringing me brochures on it, etc, but that’s another story) and she had it inserted, and a day later, she was rushed to the emergency room in extreme agony–as they inserted it wrong, and ruptured her uterus.:frowning: She then ended up getting her tubes tied on the spot–she told me. But, the moral of the story is, those things in particular are dangerous. I would share this story in a round about way with your wife–It might help her to change her mind, at least off of that method, and hopefully off birth control.

The serious nature of an abortifacient does indicate further study and caution is required. I believe that is why #14 in the section I posted is there. You should always be in consultation with a priest in this situation.

I’m sorry your wife has chosen this path. I hope she will reconsider.

You know, the idea of inserting a plastic object into my body is just repulsive. But, morevoer, the website basically says “we don’t really know how it works” – um… that alone is frightening.

yeah, right? yikes. i felt terrible for my coworker–she was truly scared that day, she said–for her life!

If the 2 of you dont want kids,just want the sex ?This is very common.God says the result of this union.Is to be fruitful.And you need to have sex 4 this to happen.Sex without being fruitful leads to all kinds of problem of our own makings.Wecome .

There are two available IUD’s in the US, wether of the copper variety (ParaGard) or hormonal variety (Mirena) they work in one of three ways (although both of these companies claim they really don’t know how it works.)

  1. Prevents ovulation.
  2. Prevents sperm from fertilizing the egg.
  3. Prevents a *fertilized egg * from attatching the the uterine wall by thining the lining of the uterus.

Hope this helps and God bless your family.

Check out these links: Click “How does ParaGard work?” Click “How does Mirena work?”

Thank you for the links. That’s exactly what I needed to show my wife, as she believes the doctor that the copper version isn’t an abortifacient. Preventing the egg from implanting certainly sounds like it to me.

My understanding is that because you did not cooperate or condone the use of the IUD, you are not culpable for the sin even if you have relations with your wife while she is using it. She, on the other hand, is culpable, and should not be receiving communion unless she has truly repented and confessed her sin. Whether or not the insertion of the IUD itself is enough to keep her from communion, even if you don’t have relations, I don’t know. This sounds like a good question for your priest, or even perhaps the AAA forum.

As far as the abortive nature of the IUD, and the use of NFP - I don’t know about how the IUD fails in preventing ovulation, if ovulation can happen at any time of the month or if it would happen at the natural time. I imagine that would make it difficult to actually abstain during the time when ovulation is most likely to happen (in the event of a failure). However, I have heard that there are people who do their best to follow a “rhythmic” schedule of abstaining, to at least acknowledge the moral problem.

I also know that there are women who are morally permitted to use the birth control pill for other medical reasons. And even though the pill is an abortifacient, they are not morally required to abstain at certain times in the month to reduce this risk. So while I can’t say what THE MOST MORAL thing to do is, I would highly suspect that since you are not culpable here, you are not REQUIRED to avoid every possible risk of the IUD acting in that way. Again, your wife would be more culpable, but free will being what it is, you can only protect her from mortal sin to a certain extent.

BTW, I’m sorry you are faced with this dilemma.

As her husband, I believe believe I need to do what is best for her and that is to abstain. Our last child was conceived while using NFP (occurred on the safest day of the month) so now she is completely against it and doesn’t believe it “works for her” :confused: (I hate it when she says that).

After having spoken to my priest, he says contraception is contraception…regardless if it a an abortifacient or not. However, with my wife’s irregular cycles I cannot in good moral conscience risk a pregnancy, only to have the baby aborted due to the IUD. Of course she says if she gets pregnant then she will have the IUD taken out.

Of course I know what her reaction will be, and it will be out of anger and will lack any reason. :rolleyes: I just know I need to continue to pray as this will not be fixed overnight. This is definitely my cross to bear, and for whatever reason this is happening in our marriage I have faith that God’s will is going to be done with us. I just fear the road that will get us there.

:clapping: for you. Because I am sure that this is a difficult stance to take, but you are “taking it like a man” and doing what Christ would wnat you to do.

Jesus never said it would be easy, only that it would be worth it.

You and your wife will be in my prayers.

Technicallity. If abortion is ending a pregnancy but the attachment was not made, some would claim it is not an abortion. Not all will say that preventing the attachment is a problem. Remember, the only “bad” result that can happen on ABC is pregnancy. :rolleyes: Well, beside all that other side effects and potential STDs… But they have disclaimers for all of that, so “they’re” good.

ACK! they changed the sheet! They used to show how many women, over time, experienced various problems with the IUD. They took the table out. Not surprised, it was AWFUL. Maybe I can find an “old” one.

Oh, look at table 2 of the Paragard sheet. It still has it. 10% per year need to take it out because of bleeding. “only one in 10, not bad!” Eek!

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