Is it morally wrong (contraceptive use)


Okay… I know you’ve flocked here to flame me now given the title given above, but give me a chance to ask my question.


Unmarried woman, with vows of abstinance until marriage. Is it morally wrong for her to use a medical contraceptive to delay or prevent her period when she is not having sex?

Because the use of this contraceptive would be to prevent extreme intolerable pain and discomfort, and not to prevent life… When she came to marry, and then inevitably sleep with her partner, she would cease using the contraceptive and her periods would return… thus, again, not preventing life?

(just wondering…)

Thanks x


a woman who is having medical problems should be througoughly evaluated by a competent physician. If she is told to take drugs with profound, dire and long-lasting side effects, or surgery she should get a second and third opinion. If her doctor merely prescribes something to abate symptoms without diagnosing and addressing the underlying cause of her problem, she should get another doctor.

No hormone therapy should be taken until a specific diagnosis of lack of the hormone or hormonal imbalance is made, and the replacement hormone should be the natural form, not synthetic, hormone that is lacking. (Diane Schwarzbein MD, the Schwarzbein Principle for this paragraph)

taking medication to the extent that periods cease entirely, as with newer versions of the patch etc. has even more, longerlasting side effects, as yet not completely studied, and is among the most drastic applications of the therapy.

if after all is said and done the contraceptive pill or patch is prescribed for a medical condition, there is no conflict with Catholic teaching, but the patient is well advised to research the FDA warnings and research about side effects of this therapy. the unmarried woman in any case is not engaging in sexual activity so there is no problem with the contraceptive side effect of the medication prescribed for an off-label use.

we can’t give medical advice here, but we can give the results of our experience, and above is mine, and we can cite church teaching, in a general hypothetical case as OP cites. for a specific individual, she needs to see a good doctor for a medical problem, and she needs a priest for a personal moral dilemma.


This is an acceptable use of medical treatment provided the facts you’ve presented remain true.

I would caution the person considering this action that in many cases contraceptive devices/medications actually just mask the underlying problem which causes the symptoms to get worse after discontinuing the treatment.

Also, if this person were to plan marriage, she should discontinue the treatment well in advance of the marriage if the couple’s desire is to use natural family planning after marriage. Typically, one’s cycles do not regulate for some time after ceasing contraception and it would be extremely difficult to learn natural family planning while dealing with untypically irregular cycles.

Another alternative in your area would be to contact Dr. Phil Boyle, who is in Ireland, who specializes in treating female issues using methods compatible with Catholic teaching, both before and after marriage.


Why go to a doctor if you won’t follow directions? Take the medication prescribed and be thankful for the help God provides through the physician and the pharmacist. Read Sir38:1-15.



Contraception is ALWAYS immoral. There is NO circumstance where one can contracept.

What you describe is taking medicine to treat a medical condition that has an unintended side effect of temporary or permanent sterility. That is **not **contraception. For example, chemotherapy and radiation to treat cancer can cause sterility. Chemo and radiation are NOT contraception, they are cancer treatment. The sterility is not the intended outcome of the treatment.

Please be precise in your terminology. It helps avoid confusion.


Hehe… I like this mixed bag off a answers.

To be clear, this is hypothetical…

:slight_smile: All answers welcome x

Until I think what to say next, peace and love, tata for now.


Readers of classic Science Fiction have read stories where the abnormal or disfigured become the norm, one such theme was in the Twilight Zone episode “Eye of the Beholder”.

Normal healthy young women have a period at a regular interval. Normal healthy young women are fertile.

Why has it become the norm for young women to take chemicals to mimic illness, disease and deformity? Can we not see that becoming the norm for women to have artificially made themselves sterile, the next step is to make normal regular periods also become the “norm”. What is next? Will my grandaughers take medicine to make themselves even more artificially diseased?

The old books said that people suffering from the late stages of “consumption” became very beautiful. Maybe we can develop a pill that will give women TB so they too can have that other-worldly glow?

Why not just be happy and thankful that you are fertile and that you have periods?


I think in this HYPOTHETICAL situation, the difference is that it is not out of vanity or to deliberately deform. It is for medical purpose. I also think you are being unfair to say be thankful, what if this woman can conceive but not carry children or any other scenario.

My question was basically, is it morally wrong to use medication, which are widely used as contraceptives, for a beneficial purpose, when it is known it will NOT be used to prevent the conception of a child.

I don’t think you really answered :S


To take a functioning set of reproductive organs and shock them with artificial chemicals so they will not function is to “fake” that these organs are disabled, non-functioning or diseased.

It astounds me that this is so accepted that we argue about it.

A period is not a disease to be treated.

If the woman in question has a medical problem the problem should be treated - slapping a hormonal mask on it with the pill does not cure anything.


Okay, kage_ar I agree with you but the scenario that our OP gave us (the first quote above) is of an abnormal period. Also, not everyone has access to the proper resources for treatment so, “slapping a hormonal mask on it with the pill” tends to be the treatment of choice. Not even our trusted gyns have access to all the newest information unless we direct them to it! They are very busy men and women so it is going to be up to us to help them find the resources, namely the Pope Paul VI Institute!

Brenda V.


Thanks for highlighting that :slight_smile:


Actually, the courses of treatment that PPVI Institute uses were mostly developed between the 1940s and 1960s. They aren’t new, and they are tremendously successful. They require the doctor to do some doctoring but other than that…

The “pill” as a band-aid is easy, not necessarily best. The treatments that used to be so successful are no longer used by a lot of OB/GYNs b/c so many women are willing to be sheep and just take the pill their doctor prescribes instead of solving the problem.


Same could be said for menopause as well…it’s not a disease, either, yet many doctors prescribe hormonal medications, etc…


By Medical Standard for women something developed between the 1940’s and 1960’s is new! This is why we as women need to take our health into our own hands and basically force our doctors to get information from the Pope Paul VI institute! We need to continue to educate ourselves and our fellow women! I am hearing more and more about women who are consulting with the Institute with their Doctor(s). What you are talking about is not widely known, ask any Ob/Gyn what they are taught at school - what we are talking about here is not standard practice, it is not taught in schools!

Some of us know way more about the methodology of Birth Control Pills than our Gyns. Ask most and they will tell you that it isn’t an abortifacient - part of that is because they have re-defined conception as implantation!!

So, I do agree with you, Birth Control pills are just a band-aid, and for some a dangerous band-aid at that so, educate, educate, educate (nicely ;)).

For Menopause some women really do have a need for the hormonal therapy. Please, some women in general need hormonal therapy, the Pope Paul VI institute Drs. and nurses will agree with that. I personally need Progesterone just to keep the deep dark depression of severe PMS at bay! It works in combination with a change in my diet (which included eliminating wheat and gluten!)

Brenda V.


Brenda, can you tell me more about the progesterone you take? Did your ob/gyn prescribe it?

I was actually going to call my ob/gyn to talk to him a/b my severe PMS mood swings this week.


I wonder how many of those posting are women…

There are a number of medical conditions that cannot be cured but are successfully treated with BCPs. Menstrual-related migraines that don’t respond to traditional medication, primary dysmenorrhea, PCOS, etc.

The point is, my understanding is that if BCPs are being used for a medical condition, and no alternatives are available, then they are morally acceptable to the Church. Isn’t that the case?


Everyone who has posted on this thread is a woman except drafdog.

There are doctors who disagree with this and can give alternative treatments to everything you mention. Dr. Hilgers of the Pope Paul VI Institute, Dr. Paul Hayes, Dr. Kris Kahlenborn, Dr. Joel Brind to name a few.

I have menstrual migraines and “primary dysmenorrhea” (a.k.a. cramps) that could kill a horse, and have since I was 16 (I am now 41). There are many other ways to manage/treat these conditions that do not include hormonal birth control pills.

There are not any conditions for which hormonal contraceptives are the **only **treatment, and many would argue there aren’t any for which it’s even the **best **treatment. In fact, all of these uses you list are “off label” uses. There are other options available.

In addition, the gravity of the situation must be proportionate to the treatment-- cramps and headaches are not sufficiently grave to offset the abortifacient properties of the pill.

IMHO, the Principle of Double Effect is not satisfied in a situation you describe.


ke summed it up well!



Get a thorough gyn workup. extreme pain and discomfort is an indication that there may be something wrong with your reproductive system that can cause infertility. You need to have whatever is causing the pain corrected (i.e. surgery for endometriosis) or specifically treated (medication for PCOS) rather than having the symptoms covered up with long term use of BCP.

IMO, short term use of BCP to alleviate the symptoms until surgery can be perform is reasonable. For example, the 12 yr old daughter of my friend started her period and was having extreme pain. After several trips to the ER it was determined that she had two uterus’ and one did not have a opening, so the menstrual fluids from each period remained in it causing extreme pain. She was placed on BCP to stop her period until the surgery to open or remove the second uterus could be performed.


Women are unique and their hormonal deficiencies are specific and unique. It is far better to test and determine the specific amounts of homone that a woman needs for treatment of a specific ailment. At present women are given BCP’s with a one size fits all measurement of hormones. Often the woman only needs either one hormone or the other. It is much better to determine this through testing. Especially considering the significant health risk that BCP’s present.

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