"Don't Like Missing Full Week"

Hi Fr. Phil

As always thanks for your site and the regular updates! I have a question and so far I have gotten one "yes" and one "no", so I guess I need a tie-breaker. I am a 26 year old female. I am not in a relationship, nor am I sexually active. What I want to know is if it's permissible for me to use oral contraceptives for purposes other than birth control. It's not for medical purposes, but rather because I swim three times a week and I don't like having to miss a full week every month. Any feedback you can give would be appreciated.




Dear Brenda,

I don't know if I can break the tie. If you are not in a relationship, you would not be contracepting. However, there are other moral considerations regarding the care of your body. I consulted with a medical person, quite knowledgeable about oral contraceptives, and she was concerned about various side effects of the pill. Please see The Reality of Contraception by Dr. Hanna Klaus, M.D. Also Dr. Erik Odeblad did studies which link the pill to problems of later infertility.

The nurse I talked with asked what you meant by missing a week each month. If you are suffering pre-menstrual cramping, she suggested other treatments less drastic than the pill.

There's a possible question about shutting down ones fertility even for a non-contraceptive reason. The Church reverences fertility to so such a degree that a man who has deliberately castrated himself cannot become a priest. (Canon 1041) That is, even tho he pledges not to engage in genital sexual activity, he cannot toss away the gift itself. Your situation of course would be different because you are only talking about temporarily suppression of a gift, not completely destroying it, but do you see the question I am raising?

I'm also wonder about the psychological effect. It's interesting that even tho the early birth control pills stopped menstruation, most women did not want to cease having their period. So the pill was prescribed in such a way as to create monthly bleeding - altho it is not true menstruation when not preceeded by ovulation.

Do you have a Catholic physician - or at least one who appreciates Catholic teaching - whom you can discuss this with?

God bless,

Fr. Phil Bloom

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