Getting a vasechtomy or tubes tied after 7 kids

I know a cath couple who, after having 7 children decided that the mother should go through with the operation to get her tubes tied. I believe that she was still of child bearing age when the operation was done. I’m thinking that the procedure was immoral. However, does the fact that she had 7 kids lessen her culbability or even make her action even a necessary good?

Thanks for your reply!

The act of sterilization is intrinsically evil. That means that it is always evil and can never be a necessary good. So we can easily judge the act as immoral. Culpability, on the other hand, has to do whether a person committing a sinful act knew it was sinful and whether they freely chose it. I can certainly imagine situations in which a person choosing to sterilize themselves might have reduced cuplability. I’d argue, though, that just because someone already has seven kids does not necessarily reduce her culpability any more than, say, someone who already has two kids.

No. A morally unacceptable act cannot be justified as a good for any reason. This is clearly stated in CCC 2399

CCC 2399
The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood. Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).

(emphasis added)

Having seven kids does not in of itself lessen culpability for the act. If she was unaware of chruch teaching or if she was under heavy pressure she might have reduced culpability, but that does not make it a moral good. If she had need to no longer have children her recourse would be to use morally acceptable means (i.e. permanent or temporary abstinence [aka NFP])

You have gotten correct answers. I just want to add that it is not your place to decide culpability. And while we don’t know who you are talking about, it is gossip for you to discuss this family’s private decisions with others IRL who might know the couple or figure out who they are.

Certainly, if the topic comes up you can say that sterilization is an intrinsically evil thing. However, mortal sin requires not just grave matter, but also knowledge and wilful consent.


Contraception and sterlization are intrinsic evils-- this means they are evil in and of themselves. Therefore, nothing can transform them into a “good” let alone a “necesary good”.

I am not sure why people cannot understand what moral evil means: never allowed and always grave matter.

A follow up question, if I may ask: Some women are advised not to have any more children due to their health conditions e.g some must deliver via CS, or some need total bed rest to avoid miscarriage. So in order to avoid falling pregnant, they get a vasectomy. Please advise a Catholic woman in such a situation who wants to conform to Catholic laws.

Any woman with health issues such as these should discuss her options with her priest. Discussing her issues would help her deal with her individual situation. Also, she has the option of using natural family planning, which is generally quite affective and only requires a bit of self control on the part of the couple, rather than undergoing an invasive medical procedure with all the costs and pains that come with it.

A Catholic may avoid pregnancy by abstaining from intercourse. They can use natural family planning for periodic abstinence, or if prudent then the couple could consider total continence.

As an aside, it is not possible for a woman to have a vasectomy.

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