Contraception

Task: Write the definition of contraception.

The deliberate use of artificial methods or other techniques to prevent pregnancy as a consequence of sexual intercourse.

Task: Make a mind map of all the types of contraception you can think of.

Task: Look at the image below, did you miss any of these methods? If so, add them to your mind map. Some of the methods are barriers and some are hormonal contraceptives. Categorise them into barrier and hormonal.

Task: Do barrier or hormone contraceptive protect against STIs?

As you can see from the diagrams below, some methods of contraception are more effective than others:

Task: Which are the most and least effective methods of contraception?

Task: Research – Is there a male contraceptive pill? If not, when is it predicted to be released?

Task: Should contraception be provided for free?

The Catholic Church teaches that the act of sex is a way of showing true love and it is through this expression of love that God works to create new life. Since one of the purposes of sex is to procreate, the use of artificial methods of contraception interferes with God’s creative act and is not acceptable.

  • God commanded his people to “Be fruitful and multiply,” and contraception is seen as specifically flouting this instruction.
  • Onan was killed by God for “spilling his seed,” which is often taken as divine condemnation of coitus interruptus (withdrawal).

However, it is appropriate to space pregnancies out.

…spouses may wish to space the births of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood…

CCC 2368

The Catholic Church understands that there may be a ‘wrong’ time to fall pregnant, eg if a couple cannot afford to support a child or if there are medical issues in the family. As a result, the Church supports the use of Natural Family Planning (NFP).

Natural Family Planning uses the female body’s natural menstrual cycle to determine which days are the most and least fertile. This allows the couple to still partake in the act of sex, whilst reducing the risk of pregnancy.

Liberal Protestant churches often teach that it is acceptable to use birth control, as long as it is not used to encourage or permit promiscuous behaviour.

Islam is strongly pro-family and regards children as a gift from God. Muslim sexual ethics forbid sex outside marriage, so its teachings about birth control should be understood within the context of husband and wife. There is no single attitude to contraception within Islam; however eight of the nine classic schools of Islamic law permit it.

“You should not kill your children for fear of want”

Qur’an (17:31, 6:151)

Contraception with the aim of having a permanently child-free marriage is not accepted. So sterilisation is wrong – partly because it prevents children permanently and partly because of a text forbidding men to castrate themselves.

Task: Do you agree with the use of contraception? Explain your opinion.

Task: Summarise the Christian and Muslim views on the use of contraception.

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