If contraception is intrinsically evil...


#1

...Then why is it morally permissible for a rape victim to take the morning after pill? (given no fertilization has taken place)

From what I understand, when an act is intrinsically evil, it means that the act is ALWAYS wrong. No matter who what where when why.

If that's the case, then why is it morally permissible to contracept against a rapist? (given no harm is being done to an already fertilized egg if one is present)


#2

My understanding is that the morning after pill prevents a fertilized egg from implanting into the womb. By taking a drug that would prevent a living zygote from implanting and turning into an embryo and then a fetus, you are interfering with the life process, which is a sin.


#3

The morning after pill works first by preventing fertilization from taking place.

The USCCB website says it’s morally permissible for a rape victim to take the morning after pill after tests have been taken to determine that no fertilization has occurred yet.


#4

*"Emergency Contraceptives" are multiple-dose oral contraceptives taken after intercourse. The pills have at least four possible mechanisms: (1) suppressing ovulation, (2) altering cervical mucus to hinder the transport of sperm, (3) slowing the transport of the ovum and (4) inhibiting implantation of the newly conceived human embryo. Which of these mechanisms is operative depends on when the pills are taken. If taken before ovulation, EC may delay or inhibit ovulation, thereby preventing conception. If taken after the LH surge which triggers ovulation, EC will not disrupt ovulation in that cycle, but can inhibit implantation of the developing embryo.

A woman who has been raped should be able to defend herself from a potential conception and receive treatments to suppress ovulation and incapacitate sperm. If conception has occurred, however, a Catholic hospital will not dispense drugs to interfere with implantation of a newly conceived human embryo.*

~ old.usccb.org/prolife/issues/abortion/ecfact.shtml


#5

My understanding that the drug can be given that delays ovulation so that the sperm effectively dies off on its own and no child is conceived. This is thought to be licit in some schools of thought because the rapist has no right to the woman's body and in theory the sperm is an unjust aggressor.

I think its worth pointing out there is still quite a bit of debate on if the "plan b" can actually be used licitly for this cause.

lifesitenews.com/news/archive//ldn/2008/feb/08022906


#6

I'm not entirely sure Debora123, but I could hazard a guess that it is because there was no selfishness in the sexual act on the part of the woman.:shrug: When two people mutually agree to have consensual sex and use contraceptive methods, they are freely indulging in the gift of the sexual act while selfishly denying the accompanying responsibility.


#7

@deb: contraceptives are intrinsically evil within marriage, because they contradict the language of the body, are contrary to the free, total, faithful and fruitful gift of self that one spouse makes to the other in sexual intercourse, and distort the image of Trinitarian love in Whose image man and woman are created.

In a rape scenario, none of the above applies. Rape, stating the obvious here, is not about the total gift of self, it is an assault and a perversion of the sexual act. To prevent conception is to repel the attacker.

My understanding is that proper use of such drugs is only to be undertaken after first checking for any applicable indicia of a pregnancy already being established. If there are no such indicia, treatment to prevent conception is licit. Needless to say, this is a very fine line, and the current state of medical tests to establish the existence of a zygote, whether implanted or not, is limited.

I'm sure you will get some more detailed answers, but I wanted to get this out quickly.


#8

So basically, contraception is intrinsically evil only within a marriage? Meaning it is morally neutral when performed between unmarried people? (<----which is the category rape would fall under)


#9

Equating rape with fornication is messed up, and that's why your analysis is failing. One is a sex act which falls under all of the laws of the Church, because two people are engaging in it. The other is not a sex act, because one participant is unwilling, so the laws of the Church concerning sex may not apply, and this one doesn't. I'm a hardline traditionalist on matters of sex, I have recently learned, and even I can see this one pretty easily.


#10

[quote="Glennford, post:9, topic:297449"]
Equating rape with fornication is messed up, and that's why your analysis is failing. One is a sex act which falls under all of the laws of the Church, because two people are engaging in it. The other is not a sex act, because one participant is unwilling, so the laws of the Church concerning sex may not apply, and this one doesn't. I'm a hardline traditionalist on matters of sex, I have recently learned, and even I can see this one pretty easily.

[/quote]

No need to be condescending.

It was a genuine question, and considering I've gotten slightly varying responses, I'd say it was a pretty good question with not as much of a cut/dry answer as you make it out to be.


#11

[LEFT][LEFT]Abortion is intrinsically evil and therefore is always immoral, regardless of intention or circumstances. But this refers to direct abortion.

[/LEFT]
[/LEFT]
[LEFT][LEFT]Pope John Paul II: "I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being." (Evangelium Vitae, n. 62).

[/LEFT]
[/LEFT]
[LEFT][LEFT]Direct abortion is always immoral. Indirect abortion is sometimes moral. An abortion is "indirect" when the deliberately willed act (the knowingly chosen act) is, by its very nature, ordered only toward the health and life of the mother, and not also ordered toward killing the prenatal. If a woman has cancer, and the prenatal's life cannot be saved, then a cancer treatment may be used, even though it indirectly kills the prenatal. Such an abortion is indirect.

[/LEFT]
[/LEFT]
[LEFT][LEFT]But direct abortion, even with the sole intention of saving the life of the mother, is always immoral. The end does not justify the means. No intention, however good, and no circumstance, however dire, can justify an intrinsically evil act.

[/LEFT]
[/LEFT]
[LEFT][LEFT]The same distinction can be applied to contraception. Direct contraception is the deliberate and knowing choice of any act (barrier methods, pills, withdrawal, etc.) that is ordered toward depriving the sexual act of its procreative meaning, regardless of whether the contraceptive is used as an end (with the intention to contracept) or as a means to another intended end (such as preventing disease transmission).

[/LEFT]
[/LEFT]
[LEFT][LEFT]However, the use of a contraceptive in cases of rape is indirect, in my opinion, and therefore moral. The natural sexual act is inherently ordered toward conception; that is why contraception is immoral. But this also implies that, when a rape occurs, the prevention of conception is morally an interruption of the rape.

[/LEFT]
[/LEFT]
[LEFT][LEFT]As an example, suppose that a rape is occurring in an alley, and a passerby happens upon the crime and shouts or otherwise intervenes. He interrupts the rape, and so conception is prevented. But his act is not a type of contraception, but only an interruption of the rape. Morally, the use of contraception (but not abortifacients) is indirect for much the same reason.

[/LEFT]
[/LEFT]
[LEFT][LEFT]However, this does not imply that married or unmarried couples may use contraception with a good intention, or in a dire circumstance. The use of contraception, in marriage or out of marriage, is almost always direct, and therefore intrinsically evil and always gravely immoral.[/LEFT]
[/LEFT]


#12

[quote="Ron_Conte, post:11, topic:297449"]
[LEFT][LEFT]Abortion is intrinsically evil and therefore is always immoral, regardless of intention or circumstances. But this refers to direct abortion.

[/LEFT]
[/LEFT]
[LEFT][LEFT]Pope John Paul II: "I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being." (Evangelium Vitae, n. 62).

[/LEFT]
[/LEFT]
[LEFT][LEFT]Direct abortion is always immoral. Indirect abortion is sometimes moral. An abortion is "indirect" when the deliberately willed act (the knowingly chosen act) is, by its very nature, ordered only toward the health and life of the mother, and not also ordered toward killing the prenatal. If a woman has cancer, and the prenatal's life cannot be saved, then a cancer treatment may be used, even though it indirectly kills the prenatal. Such an abortion is indirect.

[/LEFT]
[/LEFT]
[LEFT][LEFT]But direct abortion, even with the sole intention of saving the life of the mother, is always immoral. The end does not justify the means. No intention, however good, and no circumstance, however dire, can justify an intrinsically evil act.

[/LEFT]
[/LEFT]
[LEFT][LEFT]The same distinction can be applied to contraception. Direct contraception is the deliberate and knowing choice of any act (barrier methods, pills, withdrawal, etc.) that is ordered toward depriving the sexual act of its procreative meaning, regardless of whether the contraceptive is used as an end (with the intention to contracept) or as a means to another intended end (such as preventing disease transmission).

[/LEFT]
[/LEFT]
[LEFT][LEFT]However, the use of a contraceptive in cases of rape is indirect, in my opinion, and therefore moral. The natural sexual act is inherently ordered toward conception; that is why contraception is immoral. But this also implies that, when a rape occurs, the prevention of conception is morally an interruption of the rape.

[/LEFT]
[/LEFT]
[LEFT][LEFT]As an example, suppose that a rape is occurring in an alley, and a passerby happens upon the crime and shouts or otherwise intervenes. He interrupts the rape, and so conception is prevented. But his act is not a type of contraception, but only an interruption of the rape. Morally, the use of contraception (but not abortifacients) is indirect for much the same reason.

[/LEFT]
[/LEFT]
[LEFT][LEFT]However, this does not imply that married or unmarried couples may use contraception with a good intention, or in a dire circumstance. The use of contraception, in marriage or out of marriage, is almost always direct, and therefore intrinsically evil and always gravely immoral.[/LEFT]
[/LEFT]

[/quote]

I didn't realize there was a difference between "direct contraception" and "indirect contraception."

From what I thought I understood, contraception is considered by the Church to be intrinsically evil - always wrong, 100% of the time, no matter who what where when why.


#13

[quote="Debora123, post:8, topic:297449"]
So basically, contraception is intrinsically evil only within a marriage? Meaning it is morally neutral when performed between unmarried people? (<----which is the category rape would fall under)

[/quote]

The Magisterium has condemned contraception, whether in marriage or outside of marriage. See Casti Connubii n. 55, 56. Also, Catholic hospitals are forbidden from dispensing contraception, even if the physician and patient are non-Catholic and the patient is unmarried.

The Magisterium teaches that all knowingly chosen acts are subject to the moral law.

“Freedom makes man a moral subject. When he acts deliberately, man is, so to speak, the father of his acts. Human acts, that is, acts that are freely chosen in consequence of a judgment of conscience, can be morally evaluated. They are either good or evil.” (CCC, n. 1749)

“no human act is morally indifferent to one’s conscience or before God” (Congregation for Catholic Education)

Therefore, there are no morally-neutral acts.

In Catholic moral theology, an act (or ‘human act’) is a choice of the free will based on knowledge in the intellect. Every such knowingly chosen act is either good or evil. Every knowingly chosen act has three fonts of morality. Every act with three good fonts is moral; it is at least morally permissible without sin. Every act with one or more bad fonts is immoral; it is at least objectively a sin before God.


#14

[quote="Debora123, post:12, topic:297449"]
I didn't realize there was a difference between "direct contraception" and "indirect contraception."

From what I thought I understood, contraception is considered by the Church to be intrinsically evil - always wrong, 100% of the time, no matter who what where when why.

[/quote]

The USCCB rules for Catholic hospitals do permit contraception in cases of rape (ERD n. 36). My explanation, that the contraception in such cases is indirect, is my own understanding. I don't know of a magisterial document that uses the term "indirect contraception".

However, the way that the Magisterium defines intrinsically evil acts, all intrinsically evil acts are "direct". So, by definition, every intrinsically evil act is direct, and any similar act that is indirect is not intrinsically evil.


#15

[quote="Debora123, post:8, topic:297449"]
So basically, contraception is intrinsically evil only within a marriage? Meaning it is morally neutral when performed between unmarried people? (<----which is the category rape would fall under)

[/quote]

No. Contraception is intrinsically evil when used to purposefully thwart the procreative nature of a sex act. I think (and this is just my thoughts) that what proponents of the 'morning-after-pill-in-cases-of-rape' are doing is saying that rape is not "sex", per se, because there is no mutual giving of the parties invovled. One of them is being forced to do something against her will. When unmarried people have sex, they are usually doing it with free will, and therefore, anything they do to thwart the unitive/procreative natures of the act is sinful, because they "mutually agree to have consensual sex and use contraceptive methods...freely indulging in the gift of the sexual act while selfishly denying the accompanying responsibility." (lerapt78)


#16

Let's look at this answer by the late Father Stephen Torraco,

contraception after rape

Question from on 02-14-2002: I had recently read in a Catholic periodical that contraception after a woman is raped is morally permissable. Is this accurate? And if so, why?

Answer by Fr.Stephen F. Torraco on 02-14-2002: The contraception-abortion oriented attitude of large segments of our contemporary culture presents special problems for the faithful Catholic physician and the authentic Catholic hospital, not the least of which concerns the appropriate treatment of the victim of rape who is admitted to the emergency room. The problem, of course, has nothing to do with the need for the utmost gentleness and compassionate care to be extended to the victims of rape. Nor is there any problem with the duty of carefully collecting and preserving accurate evidence that may be needed later in court. Nor is there any problem, from a moral viewpoint, with efforts to prevent conception in these tragic circumstances, provided such attempts to prevent conception do not endanger or destroy an embryo which might already be present. In regard to preventing conception in the circumstances of rape, the teaching of the Church regarding the evil of contraception in relation to sexual intercourse does not apply to rape simply because rape is not INTERcourse - it is an act of the aggressor only, and the victim has the right to repel the aggression before the act of rape begins, or during the rape, and also the right to expel or block the continuation of the act in the form of the aggressor's sperm still invading her body. BUT, in the event that conception has occurred, or even MAY have occurred, the rape victim has no right to take measures which would destroy or endanger the newly conceived child. Obviously the new embryo is not an unjust aggressor but rather, like the woman, an innocent victim of a criminal act. To destroy this new life would simply be an abortion.

ewtn.com/vexperts/showresult.asp?RecNum=327592&Forums=0&Experts=16&Days=2002&Author=&Keyword=rape&pgnu=1&groupnum=0&record_bookmark=15&ORDER_BY_TXT=ORDER+BY+ReplyDate+DESC&start_at=


#17

[quote="choose_to_love, post:7, topic:297449"]
@deb: contraceptives are intrinsically evil within marriage, because they contradict the language of the body, are contrary to the free, total, faithful and fruitful gift of self that one spouse makes to the other in sexual intercourse, and distort the image of Trinitarian love in Whose image man and woman are created.

In a rape scenario, none of the above applies. Rape, stating the obvious here, is not about the total gift of self, it is an assault and a perversion of the sexual act. To prevent conception is to repel the attacker.

My understanding is that proper use of such drugs is only to be undertaken after first checking for any applicable indicia of a pregnancy already being established. If there are no such indicia, treatment to prevent conception is licit. Needless to say, this is a very fine line, and the current state of medical tests to establish the existence of a zygote, whether implanted or not, is limited.

I'm sure you will get some more detailed answers, but I wanted to get this out quickly.

[/quote]

This. And I would add "extra-marital" to the first paragrpah as well. Extra-marital sex has its own issue of being fornication (or adultery even) and when contracepted, also "...contradict[s] the language of the body, [is] contrary to the free, total, faithful and fruitful gift of self that one [person] makes to the other in sexual intercourse, and distort[s] the image of Trinitarian love in Whose image man and woman are created." (choose to love)


#18

[quote="Debora123, post:12, topic:297449"]
I didn't realize there was a difference between "direct contraception" and "indirect contraception."

From what I thought I understood, contraception is considered by the Church to be intrinsically evil - always wrong, 100% of the time, no matter who what where when why.

[/quote]

Direct contraception is hte use of a contraceptive drug / object in order to prevent the natural act of procreation.

Indirect Contraception is when a medication is taken to solve a problem (i.e. exceedingly irregular and painful periods) that also happens to have contraceptive properties. Contraception is not the goal, its an adverse side-effect.

it's all about intent.


#19

[quote="Mary_Gail_36, post:16, topic:297449"]
Let's look at this answer by the late Father Stephen Torraco,

ewtn.com/vexperts/showresult.asp?RecNum=327592&Forums=0&Experts=16&Days=2002&Author=&Keyword=rape&pgnu=1&groupnum=0&record_bookmark=15&ORDER_BY_TXT=ORDER+BY+ReplyDate+DESC&start_at=

[/quote]

In regard to preventing conception in the circumstances of rape, the teaching of the Church regarding the evil of contraception in relation to sexual intercourse does not apply to rape simply because rape is not INTERcourse - it is an act of the aggressor only, and the victim has the right to repel the aggression before the act of rape begins, or during the rape, and also the right to expel or block the continuation of the act in the form of the aggressor's sperm still invading her body. BUT, in the event that conception has occurred, or even MAY have occurred, the rape victim has no right to take measures which would destroy or endanger the newly conceived child. Obviously the new embryo is not an unjust aggressor but rather, like the woman, an innocent victim of a criminal act. To destroy this new life would simply be an abortion. (From the EWTN link/quote that Mary Gail provided)

:thumbsup:


#20

Thank you Ron and ahs for clarifying.

From what I understand now (and correct me if I’m wrong), it goes like this: contraception is considered intrinsically sinful but only when used in consensual intercourse between woman/man.

Which category do you think intercourse between a prostitute and a “client” would fall under? Would contraception in their case be neutral or would it be an extra sin on top of prostitution?


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