Humanae Vitae Chapter 15


#1

Lawful Therapeutic Means

  1. On the other hand, the Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from—provided such impediment is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever. (19)

I believe wholeheartedly in the Catholic Church’s stance against contraception, and I believe I have a good grasp of the theology behind it. However, I was a little unsure how to answer a person who cited the above chapter of Humanae Vitae and said that the document allows for the birth control pill in certain circumstances, such as polycystic ovaries or severe cramping to the point of incapacitation.

Now, what is meant by “therapeutic means?” Are we talking about the pill? If so, a lot of couples will use this chapter as a means of justifying the pill. “I have bad cramps” is a subjective thing and can be over-applied in given cases.

Am I wrong in saying that the “therapeutic means” must be licit in and of themselves, or else the situation does not fall under this principle of “double effect”? Contraception is inherently wrong, and, therefore, should not be considered in such category as “therapeutic means”. I’m thinking this refers more to things like the removal of an ovary with tumors. The treatment is for the cancer, not for rendering the subject infertile.

However, if someone has polycystic ovaries or really bad menstruation, is using the pill to stop the cramps “therapy”?

Rich


#2

That’s licit. Although it’s better to try and fix the problem rather than covering it up. It’s lazy and incompetent medicine to prescribe the pill for any reason.


#3

[quote=Trelow]That’s licit. Although it’s better to try and fix the problem rather than covering it up. It’s lazy and incompetent medicine to prescribe the pill for any reason.
[/quote]

Gee, does anybody in this forum know that much about the practice of medicine and disease states to make such a summary judgment?

I think it’s OK to be opinionated but being judgmental seems to require a much higher standard, which hasn’t been met here, as far as I can tell.

It seems that trelow knows more than doctors or the pope. I’m glad you’re here, you’ve got a lot of work to do here in the forums.


#4

[quote=Windmill]Am I wrong in saying that the “therapeutic means” must be licit in and of themselves, or else the situation does not fall under this principle of “double effect”?
[/quote]

Yes, you are correct that it would be wrong to use intrinsically evil actions to achieve some good end. The ends do not justify the means. So, say you have a wife who can’t get pregnant or she will die. It would be wrong to use contraception get around this issue, because this proposition includes the idea of deliberately interfering with the fecundity of their intimate act. Taking a pill for a medical condition does not of necessity include this proposition. The woman could be single (and chaste).


#5

[quote=BayCityRickL]Gee, does anybody in this forum know that much about the practice of medicine and disease states to make such a summary judgment?

I think it’s OK to be opinionated but being judgmental seems to require a much higher standard, which hasn’t been met here, as far as I can tell.

It seems that trelow knows more than doctors or the pope. I’m glad you’re here, you’ve got a lot of work to do here in the forums.
[/quote]

Don’t take my word for it. Ask one of the leading researchers in the field of women’s health.

popepaulvi.com/NCFWH1.htm

Cranky butt.


#6

However, I was a little unsure how to answer a person who cited the above chapter of Humanae Vitae and said that the document allows for the birth control pill in certain circumstances, such as polycystic ovaries or severe cramping to the point of incapacitation.

This might be of some interest:
ewtn.com/vexperts/showresult.asp?RecNum=451585&Forums=0&Experts=0&Days=1&Author=&Keyword=&pgnu=1&groupnum=0&record_bookmark=4&ORDER_BY_TXT=ORDER+BY+ReplyDate+DESC&start_at=


#7

Synthetic hormones are a recognized treatment for some endocrine disorders and female hormone imbalances. Certainly there are some other treatments, but sometimes hormones are the treatment. The “birth control pill” is merely a hormone pill, morally neutral. When used to treat a hormone disorder it is not being used as a “contraceptive” its being used for a legitimate medical treatment. When used to prevent pregnancy, it’s being used immorally.

As for your snippy comment on PCOS and cramps… Obviously you do not have PCOS or you would not be so cavalier toward “bad cramps”. It’s more than a little discomfort, it’s debilitating. It’s like calling a migraine a “little headache”.


#8

I have many friends who suffer from this. I don’t take it cavalierly, and definitely do not minimize the suffering these dear friends endure (and they try to live by the church’s teachings by not using the Pill, so their bearing of this particular Cross is a silent martyrdom).

I’d appreciate a little assumption of good intent as a Catholic brother of yours. My point was to say that some who merely have menstrual cramps (not PCOS-related) might use a broad definition of “therapy” to justify use of OC’s.

Before lighting into someone, please ask for a clarification first. This world has too many people who jump to conclusions.


#9

This was discussed quite a bit in this thread.


#10

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