Lawful Therapeutic Means
- 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”?