HomePage  Prof May Home Page


Contraception: Anti-Life and Anti-Woman


Kelly Shircliff

“… the Stranger was speaking and pointing at her as he spoke.

She did not understand the words; but Dimble did, and heard Merlin saying in what seemed to him a rather strange kind of Latin:

‘Sir, you have in your house the falsest lady of any at this time alive.’

And Dimble heard the Director answer him in the same language:

‘Sir, you are mistaken.  She is doubtless like all of us a sinner; but the woman is chaste.’

‘Sir,’ said Merlin, ‘know well that she has done in Logres a thing of which no less sorrow shall come than came of the stroke that Balinus struck.  For, Sir, it was the purpose of God that she and her lord should between them have begotten a child by whom the enemies should have been put out of Logres for a thousand years.’

‘She is but lately married,’ said Ransom.  ‘The child may yet be born.’

‘Sir,’ said Merlin, ‘be assured that the child will never be born, for the hour of its begetting is passed.  Of their own will they are barren…’ ”

(C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength, 278-279).

Contraception: Anti-Life and Anti-Woman

In the above encounter, described in C.S. Lewis’ That Hideous Strength, the third book in his space trilogy, Merlin refers to the woman who used contraception as the “falsest lady of any.”  Although the author may not have intended all the implications of the word “false” discussed here, they are an interesting point of departure for reflection on the topic of contraception.  One might interpret “false” to imply “not true” to the nature of the conjugal act, since contraception separates what is meant to be united: the procreative and unitive values.  This is a common line of argument proposed by the teaching authority of the Church, and it is quite valid.  Another way to interpret “false” is from the point of view of natural law; it is not true to nature.  This is also true.  But Merlin’s problem with the couple’s use of contraception seems clearly to be that in acting in such a way the couple prevented a particular life from coming to be.  In other words, he condemns contraception because it is anti-life.  Furthermore, Merlin describes the “lady,” the woman herself, as the one who is false, not just the act of contracepting.  I believe that this points to the fact that in contracepting, in rejecting the life of the child who would otherwise have been conceived, the woman was falsifying the very meaning of her womanhood. 

An understanding that the woman who uses contraception is a woman who is “false” is predicated on the assumption that the biological fertility of the feminine human person expresses a truth about her being that transcends the sphere of biology.  The physical openness to life and the dynamism to nurture the life that has been conceived in her express the truth, that, spiritually speaking, femininity is characterized by a dynamism of openness to receive the other and to love the other within her very being.  In other words, the woman is ontologically pro-life.  Thus, when contraception is shown to be fundamentally anti-life, it is also revealed as an action that is anti-woman, because it contradicts the very meaning of her femininity.  Furthermore, when it is the woman who manipulates her own body in such a way as to counteract the physical expression of her femininity, she is acting in a manner that is false to her very self.  In considering how this is so, I will focus on two primary types of contraceptives, both of which work within the woman’s body to prevent or end conception: (1) those that work by preventing the woman from ovulating and by thwarting the implantation of an already conceived embryo (and this is not contraception, but abortion); and (2) barrier methods that work either by killing the sperm or blocking it from encountering the egg. 

Contraception is Anti-life

            Although the reason most commonly given in recent times for the immorality of contraception is that it “violates the nature of the conjugal act,” which is true, certain moral theologians have retained the traditional Church understanding of its immorality: that it is anti-life.  In outlining this viewpoint, I will follow largely the thought-patterns of Germain Grisez, Joseph Boyle, John Finnis, and William E. May, who have put forth the most comprehensive, and, I believe, most convincing arguments that contraception is, by its very nature, anti-life.  I will pay particular attention to the article written in collaboration between these men, entitled, “‘Every Marital Act Ought to Be Open to New Life’: Toward a Clearer Understanding.” [1]

            Before beginning, an important distinction must be made.  Recently, the use of contraception has been relegated to the realm of sexual ethics.  Certainly, the issue does possess ramifications in this area, but this is not its place most centrally.  The reason is that contraception is not a sexual act.  Although bound up with sexual acts, in and of itself it is an act of willing against a possible life.  Hence, someone who is not engaging in a sexual act at all can contracept.  Grisez, Boyle, Finnis and May give the example of a dictator who wills that those he rules not conceive and thus contaminates the local water supply in order to prevent conception. [2]  The dictator is not participating in any sexual act, but is nonetheless contracepting.

            Now that it has been distinguished from sexual acts, let us examine how contraception is fundamentally anti-life.  Many anti-ovulant drugs, in addition to producing excess estrogen which works to prevent ovulation, also thin the lining of the uterus, making it very difficult for a “preembryo,” as it is re-defined by the Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecology Committee on Ethics, [3] to implant in the woman’s womb in the case that the drug fails and ovulation does occur. [4] Without being able to implant, the “preembryo” will die.  Thus, this form of contraception also works as an abortifacient, and is therefore explicitly anti-life.

            But what about drugs or devices that simply prevent conception from taking place?  How are these anti-life, since no life yet exists to oppose?  Let us begin to answer this question by examining the analogy of the act of contracepting with the act of homicide, as it is found in the Church’s tradition. [5]  First it must be noted that the Church has never considered contraception as equivalent to the act of homicide. [6]  Rather, she has taught that the act of contraception should be regarded in the same way homicide is regarded. [7]  What homicide and contraception share in common is, not the intentional killing of an innocent human life, but the will that this life not exist.  Thus, in considering the act of contraception as she considers the act of homicide, the Church points to why contraception is immoral – it is essentially contralife. [8] 

            Grisez et al. locate homicide’s, and then also contraception’s, contralife character, not so much in the behavior itself, but in the will of the person committing the act. [9]  Here it is crucial to realize that human acts, such as contraception, are morally specified primarily by the “object” freely chosen, i.e., willed by the acting person . [10]  What is essentially contralife about the acts of homicide and contraception is the will that this (real or possible) person not exist.  Such a distinction illuminates how the act of contraception should be understood: in terms of intention. [11] 

            The will that this person (real or possible) not exist extends beyond just the initiation of the person’s being which might occur from a particular sexual union; it applies also to the person’s continuing in existence. [12]   In willing that the new person not be, the actor is necessarily willing against the life of that potential person in its entirety, for every moment of one’s existence depends upon their initial coming to be.  Thus, “contraception aims to impede both the initiation of life and the being of the individual whose life might be initiated if it were not impeded.” [13] 

There is no one specific behavior that defines the word contraception; it can be accomplished through many varied methods.  What makes the act of contraception itself is the will of the acting person, what Grisez and his collaborators phrase as “beliefs, intentions and choices which render behavior contraceptive.” [14]   Contraception is then defined by the intention that a possible life not exist. [15]   Since this is what defines a contraceptive act as contraceptive, it is impossible for such an act not to be contralife.

The importance of the will in defining the act of contraception is so central, that even if the couple is unsuccessful in preventing conception, for example, if the means they utilized were ineffective in and of themselves, the actor or actors would nonetheless remain morally responsible for the act of contraception. [16]   Also, the physical actions that are often used as means to contracept, can be used for other purposes.[17]   For example, one of the most popular drugs used as a contraceptive, Ortho TriCyclen, is also FDA approved to treat adult acne in women. [18]   In such cases, the use of this drug is not contraceptive, even though it constitutes the same outward behavior.  Furthermore, it is possible for a married woman who is taking a drug, sometimes used as contraception, but for therapeutic purposes, to engage in sexual union without being guilty of contracepting. [19]   The fact that she is rendered infertile is an unintended side effect of the drug, not the reason she is taking it. [20]   Since the will to contracept is absent, she is not guilty of contracepting.

It is impossible for those who contracept not to be aware of their own willing against the coming about of life. Contraception is purposeful, intelligent behavior. One contracepts only if one thinks, reasonably, that some chosen behavior, genital intercourse, is the kind of act through which human life can be given.  For some reason, perhaps even a good reason, one does not will that life to come to be and therefore chooses to do something, prior to, during, or subsequent to that behavior precisely to impede the beginning of new human life.  If the couple did not think that the behavior they wanted to engage in, genital intercourse, was the kind of behavior apt for generating new life, they would have no more reason to contracept than they would if they were going to play tennis. [21]   They may feel that they are open to life in general, perhaps by being open to its possibility in the future, but the fact remains that they will against the coming to be of this possible life through this particular sexual union. [22]    

            At this point, it would be helpful to continue the analogy of contraception with homicide as articulated in the Church’s tradition.  One way of expressing the similarity between the two involves the reality that the will, in both acts, aims against the future life of the real or potential person.  No human action can affect the past, but only the present and the future. [23]   Thus, when someone commits the act of homicide, he or she can take away only that the possibility that the person continue in existence, but cannot take away the person’s life previous to that moment.  In the same way, contraception aims against future life; not against a life that is, but against the life of a person that “would be.” [24] 

            One sense in which contraception differs from homicide is that in the case of homicide a great injustice is performed against another person, whereas in the case of contraception there is no person yet in existence to be wronged, so no injustice is realized.  But the act of contraception remains immoral, and in the same way that homicide is immoral, because it wills against the good of life.  To illustrate more clearly the immorality of contraception, Grisez et al. compare the act of contraception to suicide.  Like suicide, contraception commits no injustice to another person, but is gravely wrong because it wills against a life that would be (in the case of suicide, the individual’s future life).  In the words of Grisez, “it carries out a will to prevent life.”[25]  

            The assertion that contraception involves a will against a possible person may not be convincing for an unreflective individual.  Some persons might even accuse those who use Natural Family Planning as a way of avoiding a pregnancy when there are serious reasons for a married couple to do so of also willing against possible life.  Couples legitimately practicing NFP (a) abstain from the conjugal act when they reasonably believe that they are both fertile and in doing so in no way set their wills against new human life.  In fact, they abstain precisely because they do not will to contracept, i.e., to choose to have sex and to contracept their chosen act of intercourse by doing something to impede procreation.  Such couples (b) engage in the conjugal act when they reasonably believe that, because of the wife’s temporary infertility, they will not cause a pregnancy, but they are not at the same time choosing to prevent new life from coming to be, i.e. to contracept.  Far different is the behavior of contracepting couples: they choose (a) to engage in genital sex, the kind of behavior they think through which new life can be given and at the same time (b) to do something precisely to impede the beginning of this new life, i.e., to contracept.   One can reasonably believe that new life might come to be as a likely result of a particular sexual union when the couple is fertile, whereas one knows that new life will not come to be if one abstains from genital intercourse.  Were human life to come to be at a time when the couple thinks (mistakenly) that they are infertile nothing, obviously, will have been done intentionally to impede its beginning.  As Grisez says, contracepting couples, unlike couples legitimately using NFP, “… necessarily imagine a new person coming to be if he or she is not prevented, they want that imagined person not to be, and they efficaciously will that he or she never be.” [26]  

            Thus, in every sexual union where the fertility of the couple is thwarted by the use of contraception, the will against possible life is the will against a particular possible life, which might have otherwise come about in this particular union.  Hence, Grisez et al., in continuing the analogy with suicide, state:

But is contraception really so different?  The projected and unwanted person is envisaged as a real possibility.  No one can know what God has in mind for that possible person’s life, and how he may view those who prevent it.  If, as has now been argued, contraception is wrong because it necessarily involves a nonrationally grounded, contralife will, that wrong is aggravated by the irreverence of this will toward God, the Lord of life, with whom human beings can only cooperate, or refuse to cooperate, in responsibly procreating new persons for his kingdom. [27] 

It may be helpful here to recall the conversation described in That Hideous Strength between Merlin and Ransom.  Following Merlin’s prophecy of the child ordained by God to conquer their enemies who would have been had the couple not contracepted, Ransom, echoing the claim of many couples who use contraception, protests that the child might be born at some point in the future.  But the child of which Merlin prophesized was a particular child of a particular sexual union.  Thus, he says: “Sir … be assured that the child will never be born, for the hour of its begetting is passed … For a hundred generations in two lines the begetting of this child was prepared; and unless God should rip up the work of time, such seed, and such an hour, in such a land, shall never be again.” [28] 

            A further manner in which contraception is anti-life is perhaps more subtle.  The natural dynamic of the union between a man and a woman is the continuation of their own lives in fruitfulness.  This is often expressed in the life of another person: their child.   Through their union in one flesh, the couple in a real way hands on their own lives.   So in a sense, the couple that contracepts is not only preventing a possible life of another person, but also choosing “to interfere with existing human life”: their own.  “For, in preventing the baby whom they project and reject, those who choose to contracept limit their own lives as they tend to become one and to flow beyond themselves.” [29] 

Contraception as Anti-Woman

            In order to move from understanding contraception as simply anti-life, to seeing it as also anti-woman, a distinction may be beneficial.  This is the distinction between the choice to contracept in general, whether it be by the man, the woman, or some third party, and the choice of the woman herself to contracept, particularly by manipulating her own body in its aspects of fertility.  Although I would like to show how any contraceptive act opposes the natural ordering of the woman toward personal fulfillment, the fact that so often the woman acts upon her own body in order to impede life is especially poignant, particularly in the face of arguments that claim that contraception is pro-woman.

            One of the most common of these arguments is the assertion that the use of contraception allows the woman to subordinate and order the physical and biological aspects of her person, i.e.- her body, to higher ends which will allow her to realize herself as an autonomous individual.  Along these lines, Lisa Sowle Cahill articulates the key argument against traditional Catholic sexual ethics as being “essentially that the physical acts and their outcomes can conflict with and may be subordinated to the needs of persons as subjects of bodily existence and to their responsibilities to others.” [30]   Such an understanding assumes that the fertility of woman is simply a physical fact.  Accordingly, the proponents of contraception tend to view fertility as “part of the world of subhuman or subpersonal nature over which persons have been given dominion.” [31] 

            These arguments are predicated on an erroneous view of the human person, in that they do not recognize the significance of the human body as expressive of the person.  Although a thorough examination of a correct anthropology is far beyond the scope of this paper, it will be helpful to illuminate certain key points of such a conception, in particular those points which are especially relevant to an adequate view of woman’s fertility.  It has already been noted that the body is not to be understood as a merely physical reality but is expressive of and integral to the human person.   Ultimately, the human person does not exist as an autonomous individual who fulfills him or herself in isolation from others (as is often the modern ideal), but rather the person is essentially relational, and finds fulfillment by making a gift of him or herself to another. [32]  

The human body, as expressive of the person, is imprinted with the personal structure of self-gift. [33]    Entailed in this understanding is the fact that the gift of self that fulfills the human person is properly bodily, since the person is a unity of body and soul.  The bodily gift of self is then seen to be expressive of a deeper, spiritual self-gift.  In light of all that has been said regarding a correct understanding of the human person, the feminine body can be seen as expressive of the feminine person.  In other words, the feminine body expresses the ordination of the woman toward self-gift and the fruitfulness that comes from it, an ordination which is distinctly human, but that exists in a feminine way. 

The gift of self that is the fulfillment of the human person is, in woman, distinctly feminine insofar as integral to it is her reception and nurturing of the gift of another.  This gift of self and the communion of persons that results are properly spousal.  As such, it can be realized in the context of a human marriage to a man, or in a spiritual marriage to God, as in the case of consecrated virginity.  Moreover, this spousal union is by its very nature fruitful.  In a human marriage, the fruit of such unity is oftentimes another human person, who comes to be through the one-flesh union proper to husband and wife.  The fruitfulness that is the human child is not only physical, but spiritual.  This is true not only in that the child who comes to be is a body-soul unity, but also in the sense that the couple’s parenting involves more than just physical goods.  Thus, Pope John Paul II speaks of “paternity and maternity in the spirit” as the completion of corporeal procreation. [34]  

All of this being said, it will be of benefit to examine what woman’s fertility (in the spiritual sense) consists of.  After reflecting upon this, it will become clearer what is at stake when the woman chooses to contracept.  One expression of femininity is woman’s innate openness to other people.  Pope John Paul II connects this dynamic with motherhood as both its source and fullest expression. [35]    He views this other-directedness as springing from the human person’s fulfillment in self-gift.  In marriage, the mutual self-gift opens beyond itself to another human life.  Motherhood, he says, begins in the openness to this new life, which he terms an “interior readiness.” [36]    This intrinsic openness to another human being, manifested most fully in motherhood, is the distinctly feminine way that the personal fulfillment by self-gift is expressed. 

“Interior readiness,” or openness to another, is also displayed in the feminine aptitude toward caring for another, often manifested in woman’s tendency toward empathy with someone who is in need.  In a sense, she immediately feels the pain of the other within herself.  Louis Bouyer articulates this ability in his book, Woman in the Church:

She [woman] is natively adapted to empathy, to that sympathy with the object which is not conceivable except in a subject such as only the feminine subject is, for whom the object does not appear from the outset as exterior.  For, once again, everything in the feminine being is dominated by the constitution which makes her capable of carrying and forming another being originating in her own … [37]   

Bouyer identifies this trait as being rooted in the feminine dynamism toward conceiving and nurturing life in her womb, a dynamism that continues after the child is born, and which is most properly identified as motherhood.

Because of her inherent openness to the world and her ability to be with others in such a manner that she experiences their own pain within herself, God has entrusted woman with the care of humanity in a special way. [38]    The awareness of this special entrustment brings about a distinctive feminine strength, as noted by John Paul II: “The awareness and this fundamental vocation speak to women of the dignity which they receive from God himself, and this makes them ‘strong’ and strengthens their vocation.” [39]   

Hence, the physicality of woman’s fertility is taken up and informed by the deeper, spiritual fertility that it expresses.  This spiritual fertility expressed in the body exists in essence as her openness to another.  This openness is inseparably bound up with woman’s receptivity, not to be understood as passivity, but rather as the ability to receive new life and nurture it within her very self.  In contracepting, woman closes herself off to the other: both the other of the man’s life, which seeks to continue in his sperm, and the other of the possible child. 

Let us now examine briefly the mechanics of the two contraceptive methods and how they falsify the meaning of the woman’s fertility.  Barrier methods of contraception work in two ways.  First, as is indicated by their very name – they block, by creating a “physical barrier,” the man’s sperm from entering into the woman’s uterus where it might be received by and joined to her egg. [40]    In other words, they deliberately close what otherwise would have been open.  Instead of the woman’s physicality expressing her openness to the other, by her very choice, she makes herself closed.  Furthermore, barrier methods are used in conjunction with spermicides. [41]    In choosing to contracept in this way, therefore, not only does the woman choose to make herself closed, but her body becomes a hostile environment to the other, and in fact kills the life of the other that is attempting to be received.  The woman herself intentionally cancels the receptivity that is an essential component of her self-gift.  Although this exists on a physical level, one cannot help but wonder what the spiritual ramifications are for woman’s personal fulfillment.

Oral contraceptives and the patch, which work in similar ways, also falsify the meaning of the woman’s body, which, as has already been noted, is imprinted with the structure of personal self-gift.  These chemicals manipulate the woman’s body in several ways.  First, they introduce an excess of estrogen in order to prevent an egg from being released by the ovaries. [42]    The process of ovulation expresses in a physical way the woman’s “interior readiness” to receive the other (i.e., the sperm).  Oral contraceptives introduce another hormone into the woman’s b ody called progesterone.  Progesterone is linked to the thickening of cervical mucus which makes it difficult for the sperm to reach an egg that may have inadvertently been released.  In this way, the contraceptive works in much the same way as barrier methods. 

Finally, both the estrogen and progesterone together thin the lining of the uterus.  This makes the woman’s womb an inhospitable place for a potential embryo.  Even apart from considering accidental fertilization, which does sometimes occur, this fact clearly displays how oral contraceptives by working in this way falsify the meaning of woman’s fertility.  In manipulating her body so as to make her womb an inhospitable place to an embryo, she refuses to nurture that possible, and sometimes real, life.  Naturally, the woman’s womb is open to receive life as it prepares itself monthly to nurture a potential embryo by allowing it to implant.  By contracepting in this manner, her womb becomes a desolate place, a place that withholds the nutrients needed for life to develop in her.  And because this barrenness is not a natural condition, but one chosen by the woman, it becomes a rejection of potential life.   

Woman’s biological fertility is bound up with and expressive of a deeper fertility.  Upon reflection, this deeper fertility can be seen as the heart of what it means for a woman to experience fulfillment, since it is the way that woman both makes a gift of herself and receives the gift of the other.  It is also the way that this communion of persons becomes fruitful, which is an expression of the overflowing fullness of this communion of persons.  By purposefully closing herself off in those aspects of physical fertility, by rejecting in her very body the existence of possible life, she is also falsifying in and through her body, the ultimate meaning of who she is, and taking a step away from achieving her own personal fulfillment.  Thus, the act of contracepting, especially when chosen by the woman, as an essentially anti-life act, is also essentially anti-woman.

Works Cited

Asci, Donald P.  The Conjugal Act as a Personal Act: A Study of the Catholic Concept of the Conjugal Act in the Light of Christian Anthropology.  San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2002.

“Barrier Methods for Women.” Epigee Birth Control Guide.

Bouyer, Louis.  Woman in the Church.  San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1976.

Lisa Sowle Cahill.  “Catholic Sexual Ethics and the Dignity of the Person: A Double
Theological Studies 50 (1989): 120-150.

Grisez, Germain, Joseph Boyle, John Finnis and William E. May.  “‘Every Marital Act Ought to Be Open to New Life’: Toward a Clearer Understanding.”  The Thomist 52 (1988): 365-426.

Grisez, Germain.  The Way of the Lord Jesus, Vol. 2, Living a Christian Life.  Quincy, IL: Franciscan Herald Press, 1993.

John Paul II, Pope.  Mulieris Dignitatem.  Apostolic Letter of August 15, 1988.

______________.  The Theology of the Body: Human Love in the Divine Plan.  Boston: Pauline Books and Media, 1997.

Larimore, Walter L, MD and Joseph B. Stanford, MD, MSPH.  “Postfertilization Effects of Oral Contraceptives and Their Relationship to Informed Consent.”  Archives of Family Medicine 9 (2000): 126-133.

Lewis, C.S.  That Hideous Strength.  New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1996.

May, William E.  Catholic Bioethics and the Gift of Human Life.  Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 2000.

Mosier, Alicia.  “Contraception: A Symposium.”  First Things 88 (1998): 26-27.

“Oral Contraceptives.”  Epigee Birth Control Guide.

“Ortho Tricyclen Treatment for Acne.”

Vatican Council II, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et spes.  December 7, 1965.


1. Germain Grisez, Joseph Boyle, John Finnis, and William E. May, The Thomist 52 (1988): 365-426.

2. Ibid 370.

3. Walter L. Larimore, MD and Joseph B. Stanford, MD, MSPH, “Postfertilization Effects of Oral Contraceptives and Their Relationship to Informed Consent.” Arch Fam Med  9 (2000): 127.  Although the term “preembryo” may be misleading, regardless of what it is called, the entity in reference is undeniably alive and distinct from the mother in addition to being manifestly human.

4. “Oral Contraceptives,” Epigee Birth Control Guide (www.epigee.org/guide/pill.html).  Cf. Larimore and Stanford 128.

5. Si aliquis, a canon which dealt with the topic of contraception and which was included in the Church’s universal law for six centuries until 1917, is cited by Grisez in Living a Christian Life, Vol. 2 of The Way of the Lord Jesus as well as by Grisez, et al. in “Open to New Life: “If anyone for the sake of satisfying sexual desire or with premeditated hatred does something to a man or a woman, or gives something to drink, so that he cannot generate, or she cannot conceive, or offspring be born, let that person be treated as a homicide.”  A.L. Richter and A. Friedberg, eds., Decret. Greg. IX, 5.12.5 Corpus iuris canonici.  Germain Grisez, The Way of the Lord Jesus, Vol. 2, Living a Christian Life (Quincy Il: Franciscan Press, 1993) 507.  The Catechism of the Council of Trent, also cited by Grisez in Living a Christian Life,, proposes that “married persons who, to prevent conception or procure abortion, have recourse to medicine, are guilty of a most heinous crime, for this is to be considered an impious conspiracy of homicides.”  Catechismus ex decreto Ss. Concilii Tridentini, 2.8.13 (1.651, translation amended).

6. “Open to Life” 366.

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid.

9. Ibid 372-373.

10. Cf. John Paul II, Veritatis splendor, 78

11. On this see Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, 2-2, 64, 7: “moral acts receive their species from what is intended, not by what is outside the scope of one’s intention” (actus autem morales recipient speciem secundum id quod intenditur, non autem ab eo quod est praeter intentionem).

12. Living a Christian Life, 508; cf. “Open to New Life” 370.

13. Ibid.

14. Ibid; cf. Living a Christian Life 507-508.  The understanding that the immorality of contraception is located, not in the specific action by which it is carried out in the physical world, but in the will of the actor, also sheds light as to why it is not the artificial nature of contraception that makes it immoral.  Hence, Alicia Mosier states, “What is wrong is not something “artificial,” not a “thing.”  What is wrong is contraception itself: the deliberate will, the choice, to subvert the life-giving order and meaning of the conjugal act.”  “Contraception: A Symposium” First Things 88 (1998): 26.

15. Ibid 371.

16. Living a Christian Life 507.

17. Ibid.

18. “Ortho Tricyclen Treatment for Acne” http://www.drsteinman.com/Content/OrthoTrycyclen.htm.

19. The Way of the Lord Jesus 507-508.

20. Ibid.

21. “Open to New Life” 377.

22. Cf. “Open  to Life” 375.

23. Ibid 384.

24. Ibid 384.

25. Living a Christian Life, 507; Open to Life” 385.

26. Living a Christian Life, 509.

27. “Open to Life” 389.

28. C.S. Lewis That Hideous Strength (New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1996) 279.

29. Living a Christian Life,  515.

30. Lisa Sowle Cahill, “Catholic Sexual Ethics and the Dignity of the Person: A Double Message” Theological Studies 50 (1989): 120.

31. William E. May, Catholic Bioethics and the Gift of Human Life (Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 2000) 126.

32. Cf. Vatican Council II, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et spes (December 7, 1965), no. 24.

33. Donald Asci, The Conjugal Act as Personal Act (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2002) 301.  Cf. Pope John Paul II, The Theology of the Body: Human Love in the Divine Plan (Boston: Pauline Books & Media, 1997).

34. Pope John Paul II, General audience of April 14, 1982, The Theology of the Body: Human Love in the Divine Plan., 276-278.

35. Pope John Paul II, Mulieris Dignitatem  (Apostolic Letter of August 15, 1988) 19.

36. Ibid.

37. Louis Bouyer, Woman in the Church (San Francisco: Ignatius 1976) 56.

38. Mulieris Dignitatem 30.

39. Ibid.

40. “Barrier Methods for Women,” Epigee Birth Control Guide (http://epigee.org/guide/barrier.html).

41. Ibid.

42. “Oral Contraceptives.”

Copyright ©; Kelly Shircliff 2005

Version: 24th January 2005

 HomePage  Prof May Home Page