Is "The Pill" still wrong if not used for contraception?

First off, I am not sexually active, nor do I intend to be anytime soon. The reason I’m asking this is because I know the Catholic Church teaches that preventing new life is wrong and thus has a stance against the use of birth control. So, it’s ingrained in me to think it’s wrong lol. However, I’m wondering if it’s okay to use for other reasons, my doctor recommended it because I get cycle related migraines and I’ve also been experiencing slight depression symptoms in the week or so before my cycle.
I did ask my priest about it, I explained the above, only difference being that at the time I wasn’t having the depression issues, just the headaches. I told him I would not be using it to prevent conception since I’m not sexually active, and the reason for taking it would be to possibly eliminate my migraines, and now depression as well. He said that since that’s what it was for then it should be fine.

But like I said, I still feel leery of it, even though my priest gave me the go ahead. So, I guess I’m just looking for more opinions. I’ve looked at an article about the churh’s view on it and it basically only talked about it being wrong because of how it would prevent pregnancy, but didn’t touch on any other reasons a woman might take the pill, such as PMS symptoms and headaches.

Thank you!

If used for medical purposes that do not involve contraception then “the pill” is permissible.

It’s always a good idea to explore other options which do not have so many negative side-effects. You might want to check out the Family Life folder which has many discussions on this topic.

It’s not the safest drug out there.
I would seek other, more effective options fro what ails you.

There are other legitimate uses of “The Pill” outside of birth control. You are fine using this for the purposes described. I had to try them once for similar reasons, but they made me sicker than I was.

I hope you can find additional ways to alleviate your symptoms, as there is nothing funny about them. My sister and I suffered horribly with our cycles. Those who don’t should realize how lucky they are.

The Catholic Church has ruled that “contraception” is intrinsically immoral, and that this is divinely revealed. However, the sin of contraception requires active intent. It is based on intent; morally neutral actions can only be contraception by intent.

For instance:
*]Taking medicine is morally neutral – Taking medicine to prevent pregnancy is contraception.

]Not having sex is morally neutral – Never having sex while healthy is contraception.

*]Not having sex during infertile periods is morally neutral – Never having sex while fertile without grave cause is contraception (Yes, even Natural Family Planning can be abused as contraception.)

However, taking a medicine that blocks fertility to treat a sufficiently grave condition is not necessarily contraception if the intent to contracept is absent.

This might be best demonstrated by trying treatments that do not interfere with fertility as a side effect first before escalating. Further care should be taken to avoid getting “used to” the reduced fertility caused by the medicine, such that one hesitates to stop taking the medicine when the treatment regime is complete.

*In all cases, I assume a married couple

I thought “The Pill” was an abortifacient.

The Pill for non-birth control purposes is not always the best choice. There may be other issues that need to be solved. I suggest:

The encyclical Humanae Vitae (1968) does say that the Church allows for therapeutic procedures as long as there is no other motive involved.

"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)"

Full document here:



I am not sure I understand why a couple who never have sex are sinning. What about a Josephite marriage? Are couples actually obliged on pain of sin to have sex with each other in a fertile period at least once in a while? Is this a universal obligation or something that is worked out with a confessor?

Talk to your priest. And I suggest you read this:


Yes thanks I have read it. It appears to say “no, they are not sinning”. Is this your perspective as well? If so, what is runningdude’s basis for reasoning the opposite?

I’ve seen a lot of people pushing this but I’ve never actually seen anyone link to any studies that weren’t backed by the practitioners - and even the sites linked only really seem to show any backing for the fertility tracking stuff, nothing that addresses other issues that aren’t helped by tracking. Is there any available neutral scientific studies on using it for conditions like PMDD, menstrual migraines, and so forth?

I ask because my experience with secular practitioners isn’t at all that they push the pill on everyone. They worked with me for a while, but it got to the point where of the medications offered birth control pills were the safest option on the table - and even then they would have prescribed other options.

OP, I recommend that you listen to your doctor. You will hear a lot of opinions from lots of people, but the doctor has the latest facts, and also, he/she is knowledgeable about your medical history and none of us are. :):slight_smile:

The Church’s perspective, not mine, is that if you need the chemicals contained in a birth control pill to solve a medical problem then it is OK or licit. However, I suggest people with certain problems related to hormones and similar, consult a Catholic gynecologist. I can’t tell anyone to do this, but I’m convinced from what I’ve heard is that The Pill, in some cases, does not heal the actual problem but provides a temporary or partial solution. I have read at least one post here from a woman claiming The Pill solved her problem. I am not a doctor but I suggest women contact a Catholic OB/GYN for a consultation, and record the frequency of the occurrence and describe their symptoms in detail. I am not promoting any particular doctor or place, I’m just suggesting that alternatives should be tried.

runningdude is talking about intent. If the intent is not to avoid conception, but solely to treat a medical condition, it is licit. His strict description includes not continuing to use The Pill after your doctor tells you to stop. And it is a fact that too many Catholics are avoiding pregnancy, what the Church calls “being open to life” in marriage. If you are unmarried and not engaging in sexual intercourse then your motive is your doctor’s medical advice to relieve whatever problem you’re having.

Hope this helps,

Actually, ed, I was not asking about use of the Pill, I was asking about runningdude’s tangential assertion that “not ever having sex” by a married couple is sinful.

The purpose of marriage is being “open to life” and not avoiding it. From Humanae Vitae:

“Finally, this love is fecund. It is not confined wholly to the loving interchange of husband and wife; it also contrives to go beyond this to bring new life into being. “Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the procreation and education of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute in the highest degree to their parents’ welfare.” (8)”

There are those married couples who find out after marriage that the wife is unable to conceive or is prone to miscarriage. Sometimes the husband has a medical issue that prevents pregnancy, through no fault of his own. Some couples have one child, others have more. Sometimes the matter of children for healthy couples is not given due consideration until after the fact or a condition occurs where a doctor advises the woman to not get pregnant again due to unforeseen events during or shortly after pregnancy.

One couple I know had only one child, and the wife, who is also my friend, told me that if they had more money they would have had more children. Are they sinning?

I would disagree that a sin occurred without knowing the exact intent of each couple and runningdude made it clear he was referring to married couples.

In some cases, little to no planning occurs, even with Christians, concerning what married life means. My God, why spend a lot of money on a wedding you can barely afford when you haven’t discussed your plans about what each of you expect out of married life until after the ceremony? Sexual compatibility is not number one. Trust, friendship, a clear understanding of what you are committing to and planning for the future before the ceremony is first.

Yes, people lose their jobs. Yes, one of you gets ill. Hope goes along with love. I’ve lived to see many good marriages. But with reliance on a Pill and not God, God is pushed out of your marriage. That is the point being made, but runningdude was not correct in assigning sin to all. But his was fair warning for an epidemic of sex outside of marriage and saying yes to yourselves but no to God and the gift of new life.

The Pill was marketed in 1967 as Freedom. Freedom from what? Babies. As if self-control does not exist. That is a lie. I was born in the 1950s. There was no Pill, no IUD, no spermicidal foam, no female condom, no morning after pill, and the average number of kids in my neighborhood and for miles around, was 2 - TWO.

It hurts to see people swallow the lie that “they’re going to do it anyway so just give them contraception” or "we need to go for a [sex] test drive before we get married [and not really get to know each other] or “mom and dad? This is OUR decision and they can BUTT OUT.”

Marriage was designed with babies in mind. Pleasure is fine but babies, let’s think about God’s plan and not leave it just to our own devices and Artificial Birth Control methods. And self-control? We have no role models we’re willing to accept or we accept the one’s that suit us. Shack up? Sure. Lots of sex. No worries about divorce. Wake up. The media is lying to you and showing you the wrong way to live.


So what about Josephite marriages, which are recognized and condoned by the Church? How can this be reconciled with the concept that a married couple must be open to life in that they are required to have sex during fertile periods on a regular basis or they fall into mortal sin?

It would take a page of footnotes to cover every exception! Not having sex as a form of contraception is immoral. Choosing such a life as a bone fide and licit spiritual vocation would not be immoral.

In the particular case of a Josephite marriage, one must enter voluntarily. One promises to refrain from sexual relations as a means of spiritual edification, but the promise may also be remitted by mutual consent (if I recall correctly) should children become desired. Even Josephite marriages are ordered towards the option of children!

No such requirement exists. Contraception is a sin of intent. There is a considerable range of morally neutral options that can be practiced without the falling into mortal sin, even options that avoid the conception of children. A couple’s motives for avoiding children under the circumstances it finds itself must be carefully discerned.

The “pill,” or hormonal contraceptives taken orally is not an actual medication. I do not understand why people don’t get this.

I have done extensive research on this for years. My medical issues require me to take actions to resolve my hormonal imbalances. At one time, I was prescribed the pill and it was terrible. I was a new Catholic at the time and had reservations, but didn’t know what options I had. I stopped taking it after a while and did a lot of research on it.

The pill and similar contraceptives has a tawdry history. It was initially prescribed to pain but when the side effect of stopping ovulation was discovered, a lot of women got on the bandwagon.

The pill works in a mechanism which replaces your body’s natural hormonal rhythm. I’m sure there are people thinking “what if my body doesn’t function right?” I’ve been there. There is an underlying medical issue which needs to be resolved first-- and a good doctor needs to help you with it. The pill will only block your body’s natural rhythm and you won’t be able to figure out what is the real problem. In other words, as my NFP medical professional said it’s a “masking” effect. It provides a band-aid to cover up the symptoms without treating the real problem.

OP, if you have PDD (unless I’m mistaken) or depression-related symptoms and pain just before your cycle, please investigate the root cause of it. Hormonal imbalances are often not revealed until years after suffering. I would ask for rigorous blood testing and find a really good NFP doctor. You can start by looking using onemoresoul and check out their search for an NFP doctor near you. Sometimes if you call and they won’t take any more patients, you can ask for a recommendation. I’d suggest contacting your local NFP organization and asking for their recommendations.

I’m pretty sure your priest is right - it’s fine from a spiritual standpoint. However, I would encourage you to do some research. I have never been diagnosed with migraines, but my ex-husband suffered from them terribly. I believe he has been able to control them through regular, vigorous exercise.

Birth control pills are classified by the World Health Organization as class 1 carcinogens. I don’t know how effective they are for migraines, but you should definitely consider the risks involved. (Personally, I wouldn’t) Luckily, I was never able to tolerate birth control pills very well. I probably only spent a total of 4 years of my life on them. They made me an emotional, mean, mess. I also didn’t feel good physically on them after about the first year. (i.e. they could make your depression worse)

Please be very cautious about putting those into your body.


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Thank You

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