Emergency contraception in cases of rape?


#1

it is true the church allows this? I can’t really find any credible sources but I’ve seen mentioned on social media lately.

if it is allowed, what is the reasoning? i’'m not really seeing the difference,he point is trying to prevent a pregnancy. Why would the end does not justify the means not apply here?

any explanation would be appreciated.


#2

No, the church does not allow it, under any circumstances. Rest easy.


#3

No. There is no such teaching by the ordinary magisterium and certainly nothing definitive.

What is true is that it’s an open question in the area of theological speculation because some theologians argue that rape isn’t intercourse and therefore the action is not contraception per se.

I tend to agree with that line of reasoning.

There are protocols issued by the US Bishops for Catholic healthcare officials. Again that doesn’t rise to the level of universal magisterium.

Don’t trouble yourself over it Angel.


#4

I am not sure this is true. Certainly any child is not to be aborted for they are an innocent, but attempting to prevent or reduce the chances of fertilization to begin with in cases of rape would not seem to be an issue.

What is immoral about contraception in marriage is the deliberate misuse of one’s sexual faculties towards perverse ends. During rape there is a person who is coerced, violated, and forced. There is no deliberate and willful misuse of sexual faculties by the victim. If one has deliberate sex with one’s spouse one must be open to life, but I see no reason for obligation to let sperm swim its way up in cases of rape. It’s not a matter of having one’s cake and eating it, too.

I think we need to be careful of losing sight of why contraceptive practices are immoral.

If any clergy or people with degrees in moral theology wish to comment… please do. I am open to correction.

Edit: I suppose it matters about what we’re talking about when we say “contraception” or “preventing pregnancy,” too. I am not advocating for abortion in cases of rape


#5

There are some Catholic hospitals who administer such an emergency contraception in compliance with the law. HOWEVER, you must have a reasonable certainty that you are not pregnant. This is confirmed via testing before administering the drug.

See USCCB citation below. Not sure about other countries or the church as a whole.


#6

Found it. Directive 36

  1. Compassionate and understanding care should be given to a person who is the victim of sexual assault. Health care providers should cooperate with law enforcement officials and offer the person psychological and spiritual support as well as accurate medical information. A female who has been raped should be able to defend herself against a potential conception from the sexual assault. If, after appropriate testing, there is no evidence that conception has occurred already, she may be treated with medications that would prevent ovulation, sperm capacitation, or fertilization. It is not permissible, however, to initiate or to recommend treatments that have as their purpose or direct effect the removal, destruction, or interference with the implantation of a fertilized ovum.

http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/health-care/upload/Ethical-Religious-Directives-Catholic-Health-Care-Services-fifth-edition-2009.pdf


#7

#8

Yes, the church allows for emergency contraception in cases of rape, but only forms of contraception that aim to prevent fertilization and would not cause an abortion of an embryo after fertilization. The rationale behind this is that a rape victim is not contracepting because she is acting to defend herself from further violation by her rapist rather than acting to sterilize a freely chosen sexual act.

My source is this book which has both a nihil obstat and imprimatur.


#9

It’s open for debate; there’s no official ruling either way but there are many faithful catholics who accept it.

The reasoning is that the sin is, essentially, choosing to engage in intercourse that is not properly ordered. If you decide to have sex, you should do so accepting that it is both unitive and procreative and not seek to frustrate either aim.

A rape victim, however, did not choose to engage in sex. As such, she has no duty to ensure it’s properly ordered towards procreation (the unitive aspect is, of course, utterly absent). The sin isn’t preventing pregnancy, it’s choosing to engage in sex while rejecting the fullness of it.


#10

Could you parse this a bit for me, please? As I understand it there are no tests for fertilization, only implantation (when medical pregnancy actually begins) at which point Plan B won’t work, so what tests are administered to determine that implantation has not occurred? Administering a pregnancy test will render a “false” negative if fertilization has occurred but implantation has not, and then use of Plan B will result in what us Catholics would morally consider an abortion.

Edit: Sorry, I don’t know how I accidentally quoted @1ke. All meant for @mrsdizzyd.


#11

They would be checking for ovulation- simple blood test to see hormone levels.


#12

Right. OK. Testing for ovulation, but still no evidence whether fertilization has happened.

So should an ovulation test come back positive, is the current indication of Catholic bioethics that Plan B not be administered?

Edit: Sorry, I’ll stop being lazy and actually read your link rather than ask a million questions! I’m on page 1 and this is a helpful list of definitions showing how the medical community uses the word ‘abortifacient’ more conservatively than we do as Catholics in a moral framework:


#13

That was a nice and short, yet succinct and informative read. Thank you!

Here’s the very elaborate answer to my question (pp. 2-3):


#14

No, and I can’t stress this strongly enough, “the Church” does not do so.

There has NOT been any actual magesterial teaching on this on either side of the issue. The absence of a teaching is not the same thing as a teaching.


#15

Yes, women have been able to seek emergency services in cases of rape: the common argument is that the unitive aspect is removed from the procreative aspect of sex. Any abortificents are of course unacceptable.

Here is an article on this issue:

Peace.


#16

I would imagine that the practice would be explicitly condemned if it was seen as immoral though.


#17

Once conception occurs, a human body is created and the soul created “immediately” by God. Doesn’t matter the circumstances. Is there suffering and sacrifice in those cases where rape produces a child? Without doubt!

What guilt does the baby have that deserves the death sentence?


#18

Contraception in cases of rape is morally permissible, as it is indirect. Similarly, indirect abortion and indirect sterilization may be permissible, depending on the circumstances.

Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Service:
http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/doc/doc_27directiveshealth2.html

  1. Compassionate and understanding care should be given to a person who is the victim of sexual assault. Health care providers should cooperate with law enforcement officials and offer the person psychological and spiritual support as well as accurate medical information. A female who has been raped should be able to defend herself against a potential conception from the sexual assault. If, after appropriate testing, there is no evidence that conception has occurred already, she may be treated with medications that would prevent ovulation, sperm capacitation or fertilization. It is not permissible, however, to initiate or to recommend treatments that have as their purpose or direct effect the removal, destruction or interference with the implantation of a fertilized ovum.

#19

But that’s not what’s under discussion. It is the prevention of conception in case of rape.


#20

This isn’t just the absence of a teaching but the absence of a prohibition. The absence of a prohibition by the universal Church counts as a tacit allowance, and that was the sense in which I use the word “allows”. For example, it is true to say “the Church allows people to shop at Walmart”, because there is no official ecclesial prohibition against doing so, and no official teaching that doing so is immoral. To say “the Church does not allow people to shop at Walmart” would mean (at least in regularly spoken modern American English), that the Church explicitly prohibits people from doing so, and/or has taught that doing so is intrinsically immoral. Same with contraception in cases of rape—to say that the Church does not allow for it means “the Church has prohibited it” or “the Church has proclaimed doing it is intrinsically immoral”, which the Church has never done.


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