Contraception, Morning After Pill, IVF & Artificial Reproduction
Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality. These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, "every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil:
Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality. . . . The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle . . . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality. CCC 2370.
Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterologous artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe the child's right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses' "right to become a father and a mother only through each other." Techniques involving only the married couple (homologous artificial insemination and fertilization) are perhaps less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable. They dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. . . . CCC 2376-77.
"[D]espite their differences of nature and moral gravity, contraception and abortion are often closely connected, as fruits of the same tree." Evangelium Vitae n. 13.
Important Church Documents:
- Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI (1968).
- "Life-Giving Love in an Age of Technology," United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, (2009).
- Instruction Dignitas Personae on Certain Bioethical Questions, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, (20 June 2008).
- Statement on the So-Called "Morning-After Pill," Pontifical Academy for Life (2000).
- Catholic Answers, "Birth Control" (August 2004)
- Helen Alvare, "Assisted Reproductive Technologies and the Family" (2007).
- Angela Franks, PhD, from "The Gift of Female Fertility: Church Teaching on Contraception" in Women, Sex, and the Church"
- Archbishop O'Brien, "Humanae Vitae Part I," Catholic Review (August 21, 2008).
- Archbishop O'Brien, "Humanae Vitae Part II," Catholic Review (August 28, 2008).
- Archbishop O'Brien, "Humanae Vitae Part III," Catholic Review (September 4, 2008).
- Janet Smith, "Contraception: Why Not?"
- "Contraception," United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (2011).
- "What is Natural Family Planning?," United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (2011).
- Dr. Kenneth Whitehead, "Contraception: A 'Sleeper' Subject Finally Being Awakened," The Catholic Answer (January/February 2000).
- Christopher White, "Anonymous No More: Child of Sperm Donor Speaks Out," National Catholic Register (October 2011).
Dates to Note:
Natural Family Planning Awareness Week Falls in July each year.
- "How 'the Pill' works as an abortifiacient." (3 minutes)
- Janet Smith, Excerpts from "Contraception: Why Not?".; (4½ minutes)
- Fr. Tad Pacholczyk, "In Vitro Fertilization." (8 minutes)
- Diocese of Phoenix Natural Family Planning Promo Video. (6½ minutes)
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