Natural vs Artificial Birth Control

I’m not at all interested in contraception, but I’d like to fully undersrand the topic. Contraception obviously isn’t unitive since you are rejecting your spouse’s fertility, and in the case of certain ones there is physically a barrier preventing unity. However, when it comes to the pro-creative aspect, why are natural methods of postponing better than artificial methods? Both have the same goals, and since God is all powerful, neither can prevent a child if God wills one.

I’m assuming by natural you mean NFP?

NFP revolves around a woman’s monthly cycle. It is still entirely possible to get pregnant while using NFP. The difference is that the couple abstains during a woman’s most fertile time.


I know the difference between NFP and contraception. I’m asking the difference in meeting the pro-creative aspect. As I said above, both aim to postpone pregnancy, and neither are more powerful than God’s will.

Ironically, it’s also ‘entirely possible’ to get pregnant with condoms. What ‘percent possibility’ deems a method of birth control as morally acceptable? 1%? 3%? 30%? If there’s a hole that’s a nano meter larger than a sperm in a condom or a diaphragm which yields x% chance of pregnancy vs. y% with NFP, is that acceptable?

Lol & my 23 year old is living proof you can get pregnant while using birth control pills. That’s when I realized if God wants you to have a child, you’re going to have one and of He doesn’t want you to, you won’t. Attempting to control fertility is like trying to control God… it’ll only work, if He wants it to.

NFP is morally acceptable, I would think, because it exclusively uses periodic brief abstinence periods which in the New Testament describes as acceptable when both spouses agree, and because it’s natural aka doesn’t interfere with a woman’s body/hormones & also because it allows for the normal completion of each marital act aka no barriers to the full giving & receiving between spouses. I think these are what’s different between NFP and ABC.

I could well be wrong, but my understanding is that NFP isn’t to be used exclusively to not get pregnant, and that using sex in anyway that is sought to intentionally circumvent the possibility of life is sinful.

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It is morally acceptable to use NFP to postpone pregnancy. You just need to stay open to having children should it happen.


With NFP you are NOT doing the marital act, abstaining from marital relations at certain times. But if the marital act is completed the couple is ALWAYS open to life.

With ABC there is something being used IN the marital act to prevent conception: IUD, Birth Control Pill, condom, etc. There is an artificial device or medication introduced into something that is perfectly natural for the married couple and should ONLY include the married couple.


NFP is using the understanding of your bodies for the desired result without interrupting the natural ability.

ABC is chemically changing your body for the desired result corrupting the healthy and natural process.

ABC is akin to using uppers to do better on tests. In moderation, there’s little “consequence” yet most people feel that this chemical enhancement is wrong. So why don’t we apply the same thought pattern to fertility?

To understand the difference we need to focus on two things:

  1. The exact language the church uses; and
  2. The philosophical issues.

First, the church uses very specific language to define what is, and what is not acceptable with respect to each act of intimacy. It says each act must be both “UNITIVE” and “ORDERED PER SE TO PROCREATION”. The terms “procreative” or “open to procreation” do not appear in the official teaching of the church and in fact are misleading. Ordered per se toward procreation simply means the externals must be put together in the way that nature intended and that there can be no artificial barriers (physical or chemical) placed in between the spouses.

Which brings us to “second”, the philosophical basis for the church’s teaching. It is based on natural law. Natural law first off doesn’t mean as we see among plants and animals (nature). Rather it refers to the “natural order of things as intended by God”. God made us, man and woman, to function in a certain way. When we cooperate with that design, we are acting in compliance with natural law. When we interfere with that design, we are acting contrary to God’s will (sinning). The female body is designed to operate on a cycle. That is natural, and our knowing about that cycle and utilizing it are therefore also consistent with God’s design. Knowing about and utilizing that designed cycle can be aimed at postponing, or insuring pregnancy.
ABC, either physical or chemical, interferes with God’s design.

That is why NFP is morally licit and ABC is not.


I think that’s strongly debateable. What about the babies who are conceived by alcohol- or drug dependent mothers and who are born damaged? And twelve year old girls raped by a family member?

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Thank you. That first part clarifying the official teaching of “ordered per se to procreation” was very helpful. The second part made me have another question, but I’m going to create a new thread.

You don’t think God wants those children? If course he does!

I know of a woman who’s son was born with fetal alcohol syndrome and he has been such an inspiration to her, the light of her life, and he became the cause of her recovery.

I’ve personally adopted a child born tox positive to a drug addicted birth mother and she’s an amazingly wonderful daughter - her special Gift from God has been apparent even as a young child, she has the Gift of Comforting… I’ve even seen her give Comfort to a kid who doesn’t like her.


Because artificial contraception, like the Pill, prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to the lining of the uterus. In short, it is a potential abortifacient.

That is true, but the same argument can’t be applied to condoms. However, I’ve gained understanding from DeaconJeff’s answer.

Physical barriers block the sperm from ever reaching the egg. Therefore, sex isn’t open to life.

I know that. My point was that condoms can fail and God can work miracles, so there is still a chance of life when using a condom, just as there is without a condom during the “infertile” time of a woman’s cycle.

“Open to life” is a misnomer, it is confusing, it is not what the church teaches and I really wish we would quit using it. As I explained above, the proper term is “ordered per se toward procreation” and as you pointed out above, terminology is important.

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Only going by what I’ve been taught, by a deacon. Apparently this person is incorrect, so I get your frustration.

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