I was recently diagnosed with PMDD, premenstrual dysphoric disorder. The treatment for this is a combination of antidepressants and hormones. So basically, something like Zoloft and Yaz (birth control pill). I am really struggling with the birth control portion of the treatment. I have practiced NFP for the last 11 years and was told the the birth control pill was like getting an abortion. I was told that it still allows conception but that the newly created life can’t implant into the uterus. Not to mention, the Church doesn’t support or encourage the use. After telling my doctor that, she said I was completely wrong. She said that Catholics believe that life starts at conception and there is no conception with this pill. My doctor says she is catholic and would never prescribe something like that to her patients if it was like an abortion. What is the church’s stance on using birth control for medical reasons like balancing out hormones and not for birth control? Zoloft will help with the depression associated with PMDD but Yaz is for the hormone imbalance. I don’t know if this question is absolutely ridiculous but I would like to know so that I can start my course of treatment. Has anybody has a similar situation?
Trust your doctor, she is correct. You can take the pill for medical purposes.
Wecome to CAF, crystalhowell27!
I’m so sorry you have these medical issues to deal with. I think the principle of double effect would apply here and allow you to use the hormonal medicine. The best thing to do would be to consult with your priest in confession to confirm this.
One other thing about posting here. There is a rule against putting identical posts in more than one forum. I saw this one also in Moral Theology, which is probably the best place for you to have it. Don’t be surprised if moderators combine your threads into one or close one altogether. Next time, just use your best judgement about where to post, and if you goof, a friendly mod will move your post to a better place.
Your doctor is wrong, it is still a grave sin to use the pill. And Here is why. God created us male and female, he created us this way so that we might bring life into this world. The pill prevents women from bringing life into the world, and thus, is contrary to our very nature, and the nature of God. Even if there is no life in that fertilised egg, you are still refusing the God given gift of life. So you’ve basicly stopped life instead of killing it. It is against natural law, Gods law, divine law, to end or prevent new life.
Well, your doctor is right and wrong. The pill is not primarily an abortafacient (causing an abortion of a baby) but it can have that effect. In most instances the pill prevents conception. But should conception occur, hormonal birth control (yaz included) changes the lining of the uterus so a fertilized egg cannot implant and it is expelled from the body.
I wouldn’t be so quick to trust your doctor on moral issues! My advice is to rely on her for medical advice and seek out a priest or other spiritual adviser to weigh her council against.
PMDD is serious, but doctors are also trigger happy to prescribe the pill (I’m speaking from my own experience with hormonal imbalances and birth control pills). Perhaps you could find an alternate treatment? If there is truly no other way to resolve you medical issues then using the pill is acceptable to most moral theologians, and its possible abortafacient side effect a sad consequence. Hope you are on the mend soon, either way.
Your doctor is slightly confused, because of the way pregnancy is defined medically, I suspect.
Pregnancy only happens once the fertilized ovum is implanted successfully in the uterus. This makes good sense from a natural medical point of view, because there is no chance of a successful pregnancy without implantation. And it isn’t uncommon for conception to take place and implantation to fail - maybe because of a problem in the uterine lining, but often because the fertilized ovum is not viable for some reason. And many of the processing of pregnancy don’t begin until implantation occurs and the body starts to generate all those pregnancy hormones. So if there is no implantation then the woman seems to have a normal menstrual period and never knows anything happened.
What this means though, is when the ovum is artificially prevented from implanting somehow, technically it is correct to say there never was a pregnancy. It is not correct to say there never was conception, and at that point the person is morally culpable for deciding not to let that implantation occur.
Most birth control pills primarily work by preventing the release of the egg, but secondarily by causing the uterine lining to shed. If the mother takes the pill properly, usually there is no egg released. So what you were told was an exaggeration and inaccurate. Some, the mini-pill, I think, and older IUDs too, work by preventing implantation alone.
In your case, though, there is a medical reason beyond the birth control effect. The church does allow medical procedures necessary for the mother even if they would negatively affect the baby, like chemotherapy.
Questions you will need to ask include - are there any other alternate treatments we could try? If this is the only choice (or you find others don’t work) is it a long term or short term treatment? Would you feel comfortable to continue to practice NFP while taking the pill, which would make it very unlikely you would concieve? Or could you remain celibate for a time?
There are questions it would be worthwhile to discuss with a spiritual adviser, or an expert in Catholic fertility related issues, or both. A fertility adviser would also be able to give advise on other treatment options, more than your regular doctor would.
You can also consult the various Catholic groups that teach NFP and assist women with medical issues. Couple to Couple league comes to mind. They publish a book called *Fertility, Cycles, and Nutrition *which is very helpful for naturally restoring proper cycles.
As others have said, you should consult your priest and seek out alternate treatments. Start by asking your Dr if it would help for you to take the Zoloft while you work to correct your cycles through other means.
If that’s the case, then choosing to remain abstinent is also wrong. I mean, if you hadn’t specifically chosen to not have sex, you might have conceived! Thus, the celibacy of priests shouldn’t be lauded, as it is actually the immoral denial of the production of life. I could go on, but if you haven’t seen the futility of your argument by now, you probably never will.
Thanks Betsy, I did the same thing with one of my posts… thank you to the moderator who fixed it!
You’re getting a lot of different answers on here but I have gone to my Priest to ask about this as I need to be on the pill for medical reasons as well. There have been no studies that actually show that the pill is an abortifacient - I’ve been told that there havn’t been any because it would basically be “allowing” an abortion - the amount of hormone in the YAZ pill may be fairly low - I know it contains other ingredients besides just the progesterone and estrogen. Anyway, regardless, the principal of double effect does apply for myself and for you since your main reason for taking it is because of your PMDD and not a desire to thwart off a pregnancy. Fr. Serpa on here has posted regarding this in case you want to read what a priest has to say - I’ve printed the link before and I’ll try to put it up again as soon as I can. Hopefully that will put your mind at ease and you’ll be able to begin your treatment and feel better (without any lingering questions regarding if the church allows this or not). Good luck and feel free to PM me if you have any other questions about this.
Suggest your doctor read the package insert in the YAZ she perscribes. It is right there, in black and white that YAZ prevents implantation.
There are instances when it may be acceptable to use the pill. I would really recommend seeking the counsel of your priest. It sounds like you would absolutely not be taking the pill for contraceptive reasons. I would make an appointment and talk to your priest. I’m praying for you.
The World Health Organization lists the pill as a carcinogen.
Here is what Fr. Serpa said on this matter on this very site:
This is a very important matter that is widely misunderstood:
The Church considers a miscarriage to be a physical evil. Since abortion DELIBERATELY causes a miscarriage, it is therefore also a MORAL evil. The Church sees an UNintended miscarriage as only a physical evil since it is not deliberately caused by the couple.
The use of the pill for medical reasons may cause an UNintended miscarriage. Women often have unintended miscarriages—sometimes without even knowing it. It is only miscarriages that are INTENDED that the Church considers immoral. The Church never allows the pill to be used as an abortifacient. But it does allow the use of the pill for medical reasons with the possiblity of producing an unintended miscarriage—without obliging the couple to abstain from sexual relations during that time.
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.
Is there a Naturpath (Doctor of Natural Medicine) in your area that will work with your doctor? I know that the pill can cause other problems so if there is a was to balance
your hormones naturally, I would go that route. It is not an easy fix, but here there
are doctors that will work with a naturpath (sp?) and together they seem to get good
results. I know that my daughter got a great deal of help working with a doctor who
was also trained in nutrition and natural therapies and while it took awhile, she still
has her “original” knees after she had been told that her pain and the xrays showed
she had bone on bone and would require knee replacement surgery. She has none
of the pain now and her health improved overall. It has been years since that happened.
More and more doctors are being trained in natural therapies and nutrition and
not just with pharmaceutical but it does take longer.You’ll have to do your homework
and find out which doctors have the training. It is usually the younger ones, but I
know of one doctor who went back to get that training so he could better help his
patients who sometimes couldn’t afford the expensive medicines.
That type of health care makes sense to me, but one does have to be pro-active in
following the recommendations.
Although taking the pill in this instance (for the treatment of your condition, not for contraception) wouldn’t be morally problematic, I just wanted to advise you to be careful w/ Yaz. I just saw a commercial today from one of those “ambulance chaser” law firms stating that it’s been known to cause some serious problem, kidney failure, I think (I know all birth control pills have risks for lots of problems, but Yaz must be worse, since this law firm is advising women to contact them if they’ve had any problems). Just an FYI.
However, our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and we know now the pill is a carcinogen.
Many drugs have side effects, some quite serious. One always has to weigh the advantages and risks, and also just being paranoid in an unhealthy way.
And their are many alternatives to the pill, so why take the chance. The pill has become standard fare and way too easily prescribed and accepted by parents of teenage girls as well as others.