Today I received a question from a reader of the blog in reference to the article found here. Here was the question:
Interesting thoughts to have stumbled upon, that birth control is completely immoral for a practicing Catholic. However, I don't think it's as black or white as that.How about in cases where a woman is on certain medications that would prevent healthy pregnancies (for the baby and/or mother), yet they are married? Should they never be intimate with their spouse? Or risk their (or future child's) health? I think of course the answer should be "no."It's not exactly a common case, of course, but some women, after having certain cancers or hormonal conditions are put on birth control pills for optimal health and well-being. Sometimes this is just for a short time, but for others, it's for years. Where would the Catholic church stand on this, in your opinion?
According to Catholic doctrine, birth control cannot be used as an artificial way of preventing pregnancy. However, if a medication is prescribed to treat a particular condition, and as an unintended side effect, prevents pregnancy, then it is morally licit. So it all goes back to the purpose. Kind of like taking drugs to get high would be immoral, but taking drugs to treat an ailment which incidentally caused the person to be high, that would not be immoral.
With regards to the other question, if a woman knew for certain that giving birth to a child could cause damage or problems for her or her child, then this would be a legitimate reason to avoid having sex during fertile times in order to reduce the chance of conception. It would also be acceptable to refrain from sex altogether. The church accepts people understanding their bodies and fertility and doing what is necessary to avoid pregnancy. This does not violate natural law. Sort of like if you knew eating late at night causes weight gain and you avoid this, that is not wrong. But purging after eating would probably not be considered okay.
Again, with adequately serious reasons, Catholics are permitted to take steps to avoid pregnancy, which do not involve artificially altering the way the human body functions.
Hope this helps. If anyone has any further questions, let me know!