There are several reasons why we believe that the use of contraception harms everyone involved. The first reason is that the use of contraception leads to abortion. Several “contraceptives” are in fact abortifacients. That is, they cause early abortions. All oral contraceptives, Norplant, Depo-Provera, and IUDs cause abortions before a woman even knows she’s pregnant. According to Dr. Bogomir Kuhar, in Infant Homicides Through Contraceptives, these forms of birth control take an estimated 8.1 to 12.75 million lives each year in the US alone. Contraceptives also cause abortions through their failures. All contraceptives fail, some quite often. Even surgical sterilization has a failure rate. Each “failure” results in a new human life, a new baby, an actual woman facing an unplanned and often unwanted pregnancy. These pregnancies are at risk for abortion.
The invention of the birth control pill was revolutionary and, in fact, caused the sexual revolution. Once people thought they could have sex without the possibility of pregnancy, or with a greatly reduced risk of pregnancy, they began to disregard the traditional structures that had protected children and sex for centuries. Contraceptives pills were soon prescribed for younger and younger unmarried women. Since contraceptives fail, this led to an upsurge in the numbers of out of wedlock and teenage pregnancies, and the number of single parent families. With the increase in premarital and extramarital sex, and the number of partners one person might have, the rate of infection from sexually transmitted diseases skyrocketed. Even the number of serious sexually transmitted diseases soared, from about twelve known diseases thirty years ago to over fifty today. This plague has even struck our senior citizens as, empowered by Viagra, they have contact with multiple sex partners. Several retirement communities now report epidemics of STDs. Nature is telling them that even after fertility is naturally gone, the marriage vow is still sacred. The diseases themselves have changed, from easily treatable, known diseases, to more and more destructive ones, including the AIDS virus. Some contraceptives, especially hormonal contraceptives, even make the user more susceptible to STDs.
Contraceptives can help destroy marriages. Only four years after contraceptives were first tested, researchers found that marriages in which contraceptives were used were twice as likely to end in divorce than marriages in which there was no contraceptive use1 . Why this huge difference? Well, using contraceptives means that a couple’s fertility is suppressed, and treated like a disease. They are no longer able to share themselves with each other totally in the sex act. There is a barrier not just physical, but also emotional, erected between them. They are closing one part of themselves off from each other, and from God. Often the couple begin to be dissatisfied. The wife starts to feel that the husband does not desire her, only her body. The husband begins to feel that his wife doesn’t really want to have sex with him, that she is cold and tired. These attitudes can poison their whole relationship. With this crucial part of their marriage gone bad, soon other problems develop. Before they know it, the couple is in divorce court, dividing up their mutual property.
Contraceptives treat children like a disease. We take medicine or have surgery done to prevent them. When a couple does become pregnant in our modern culture, it may be seen as an occasion for condolences rather than congratulations. A pregnancy after a couple has one or two children may be treated as an unfortunate mistake. As Christians, we know that this attitude is wrong. The Bible tells us that children are a gift from God. They are His blessings. An abundance of children is an expression of God’s special favor. What right do any of us have to refuse a gift from God? Instead of the world’s attitude that children are bothersome nuisances that prevent us from enjoying our hard-earned wealth, we need to see each child as a marvelous assist to full human life. We believe that all children are good and beautiful. Although some pregnancies may occur under tragic circumstances, each child is an occasion for celebration.
Contraceptives degrade women. From the day in junior high when a woman menstruates for the first time, a woman’s fertility is a huge part of her life. If her constantly changing hormones were not enough, for five to ten days every month she gets powerfully reminded again and again that this body of hers was designed to conceive and bear children. When a woman uses contraceptives, she and her partner are actively rejecting this essential fact about herself. Her ability to become pregnant, one of the greatest blessings of her life, becomes unacceptable and a burden. Because most contraceptives are designed to be used by women, when they fail, and a pregnancy occurs, it is “her fault.” She is expected to “deal with” her mistake, usually by having an abortion. The father of the child, although he is as responsible for this child as the mother, feels free to abandon both of them. After all, since the contraception wasn’t his responsibility, why should he be responsible for the result of the contraceptive failure?
Hormonal contraceptives, besides being abortifacient, have horrific side effects for the women who use them. From high blood pressure to blood clots2 , to heart attacks3 , to migraine headaches, to menstrual problems after you quit taking the drug, hormonal contraceptives (the pill, Norplant, and Depo-Provera etc) can wreak havoc on a woman’s body. It is no coincidence that the rise in breast cancer followed ten to fifteen years after hormonal contraceptives first became readily available4 . It is also no coincidence that many women who have been on the pill for years and now want children, find they are now infertile5 . Infertility has become a national epidemic, with couples spending hundreds of thousands of dollars trying desperately to conceive. Unethical doctors continue to become wealthy prescribing contraceptives and then treating the side effects.
Finally, we believe that the use of contraception is wrong, because that is what our Church teaches. Although it has come under serious fire both from within and without, the Roman Catholic Church has never changed its centuries-old teaching that contraception is morally wrong, and that its use is immoral. Many Catholics have been deceived into believing that the Catholic Church has changed its teaching, or that it doesn’t matter anymore. The truth is that the Church cannot change the Creator’s design. What is intrinsically immoral will always remain so. We challenge all believers to find out the truth, examine their own consciences, and live up to the standard that our Church has set for us. It’s never too late to make a change.
1Grant MD, Ellen Sexual Chemistry: Understanding Our Hormones, The Pill, and HRT. Mandarin Paperbacks, London, 1994.
2Demulen (1993). Physicians Desk Reference, 2254
3Thorogood M, Mann J, Murphy M, Vessey M (1991). Is oral contraceptive use still associated with an increased riskof fatal myocardial infarcation? Report of a case control study. Br J Ob Gyn 98, 1245-1253
4‘RCGP Breast Cancer and oral contraceptives: Findings in Royal College of General Practitioners’ study.’ BMJ 1981; 282:2089-93.
5Rowland, R. Living Laboratories. Lime Tree, London 1992.