Oral contraceptives

What is the church’s position on women using oral contraceptives to alleviate/correct medical conditions?

They are allowed to take them.

And they are not required to abstain either.

See below:


Debora is right. Just be aware that some doctors will throw BCPs out there like they are the only answer. They are not always the best or only answer to medical problems. I only say this because that is what I experienced when being diagnosed with PCOS. Turns out that BCPs only mask the symptoms of PCOS without fixing the problems. After doing my research, I was able to convince my doctor to give a different medication a chance first, metformin. It worked for me. (doesn’t necessarily work for everyone.)

As I said, just wanted you to be aware and to ask you to do your research first.

The pill, if used in this situation, most definitely must be used in conjunction with abstinence. A woman still often times ovulates while taking the pill. If she does, she can conceive, however, the pill’s hormones still allows for the period to occur, thereby procuring an early abortion.

:thumbsup: :thumbsup:
This is excellent! Many doctors simply aren’t that aware of treatment options outside of birth control pills. In many cases, the pills will only treat the symptoms of a problem, not the cause, so you are left with the same problems as soon as you quit taking those pills. It’s always a good idea to do a bit of your own research and be educated about what options you have.

According to the apologists here at CAF, a couple does not need to abstain from intercourse if the wife is taking oral contraceptives to treat a medical condition:

Here’s what CAF’s Fr. Serpa has to say about that: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=4618&highlight=abstain+taking+pill

and CAF apologist Jim Blackburn: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=15756&highlight=Birth+control+pills

I can’t seem to post a reply on this thread forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=4618

However, this priest is actually wrong. A couple absolutely should use abstinence.
Here’s a parallel example of why:

A somewhat busy crosswalk in your downtown city has cars crossing 30 percent of the time. Do you take your chances and cross without looking because 70% of the time you’ll be safe? Or do you look both ways and with certainty cross the street without getting hit?
We KNOW that the pill can cause early abortions. It’s a fact. Many women still ovulate on the low dose birth control pills. So, it is not heroic to abstain, it’s simply the MORAL action a Catholic (and all people) should take if faced with having to use the pill for medical reasons.

:shrug: Perhaps you might want to send the concerns you posted here to the forum moderators or the staff apologists: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=4

He is an apologist for this Catholic forum, that’s why you can’t post a reply. His reply is final, and correct… that is why CAF appointed him an apologist for the forum.

This other apologist here says the same thing:


Ooooh, a chance to agree with Debora, even partially! Can’t pass this up.

I think Debora is correct to the extent it is a majority opinion that abstinence is not required when using medication that can result in temporary sterility, but could also be abortifacient if ovulation is not suppressed. I think that opinion is generally accepted under the principle of double effect.

That being said, I agree with Cathsmom and SummerSmiles who note that meds may treat the symptom and not the cause. Further, a couple could certainly abstain if that is what they discerned was appropriate, but I do not think that position is the generally held one.

Father is wrong. This forum is just that-- a forum with threads. Many answers can be wrong. Here is a correct answer to the same question.


My question is: Considering that it has been 7 years since she has been pregnant (and she is 49) and 5 years since we’ve actually used NFP to avoid pregnancy and the fact that she is NOT on the pill to avoid pregnancy but for medical reasons, would it be licit for us to have relations while she is on the pill? -M

R. I think you made the proper decision to abstain from the marriage act until after the surgery. There are just too many ifs. We simply do not know if your wife is still ovulating, or if she would ovulate between now and the time of the surgery, or if the pill would act as an abortifacient in this particular cycle. If it were not for the abortifacient factor, then we could correctly say that your wife was taking the medication to control bleeding and that its probable sterilizing effect was strictly a secondary and unwanted side effect. However, the possibility of it acting as an abortifacient is the determining factor.** In terms of the principle of the double effect, there is not a proportionately grave reason for running the risk of an early abortion.** That’s why I congratulate you for having made the right decision the first time. -JFK

The important part is that they are not required to abstain by Church law… though they certainly can if they would like, as long as it is a mutual decision and hopefully for a relatively short period of time.

Of course, the woman can (and probably should) look for alternative medication that don’t result in sterility, but she is not required to do that either.

…This is all according to what I’ve learned about the subject here on CAF, and what multiple CAF apologists have said.

Sterility is NOT the grave problem here. An early abortion is. If you have a chance of conceiving and that baby cannot implant because the hormones will force the lining of the uterus to expel, then it is an abortion. This absolutely happens on the current pill without many women ever knowing. A woman taking the pill for medical reasons is bound to abstain from sex in order to avoid an early abortion.

Also, this thread is a much better thread to follow for orthodox advice:


So you’re saying we should trust random posters on this forum over the word of multiple appointed apologists?

Sorry, but that is not what the Church teaches on the matter. If you feel that strongly about it, you can write to CAF and tell them their apologists are giving out wrong information. :shrug:

First off, “Catholic Answers” forum is not where Catholics are bound to go to in order to get orthodox advice. The Catholic Catechism would be a start.

You quoted this response from another apologist:


And he quoted the Church Document HV 15:

“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” (HV 15).

Notice that death of the child (abortion) was not listed, ONLY “impediment to procreation”. Why does this apologist assume the sterility is the moral issue here? The truth is, abortion is NEVER okay.

I will repeat, due to the chance of an abortion, a woman must always use abstinence during her fertile time while taking the pill.

Lol, then why would you try to prove your point by posting a link to a CAF thread written by members?? :stuck_out_tongue:

Such is not what the Church teaches. Sorry.

The pill is also not 100% effective. People have and can conceive and carry to term a baby, it isn’t common but it is not unheard of either.

Yep. I’ve heard of this happening myself.

Please watch this video everyone. After watching it, could you be intimate with your spouse during your fertile days while on the pill, knowing what could happen?


Whether someone could or not, isn’t the point. The point is they have no Catholic moral obligation to abstain.

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