Contraception and dignity
Christopher Damian, Andrew Lynch, Samantha Stempky | Tuesday, January 31, 2012
In seeking to promote life, we, the officers of Notre Dame Right to Life, would like to articulate and defend the Catholic Church’s clear and unchanging rejection of artificial contraception.
Although the use of some hormonal contraceptives for medical purposes may be legitimate, a woman seeking to sterilize herself in order to be sexually available to any man, whether husband or boyfriend, is in direct opposition to her body’s dignity in both the biological and moral realm.
Indeed, “The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2399). Recourse to moral means, such as Natural Family Planning, preserves the unitive and procreative aspects of the sexual act. They are not rendered impossible by these means. Without these aspects the sexual act is stripped of its meaning, and man and woman fail to give themselves to each other in complete love.
Artificial contraception is neither a “right” nor health care. A woman’s choice to sterilize herself is a condemnation of the dignity of her body and its moral meaning. She destroys her body’s power to bring forth life and to give the sexual act its complete meaning. Through acts of sterilization, including contraception, a woman chooses to be less than who she is. The Catechism states, “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” (2730).
Therefore, institutions that seek to promote the good of humanity have a responsibility to condemn and oppose sexual activity that is contrary to the dignity of the human person. The Catholic Church is one of these institutions, and, as a Catholic university, Notre Dame is as well. We, the officers of Notre Dame Right to Life, defend it. (For the unabridged copy of this letter, visit chooselife.nd.edu and click “Essays” under the “Information” tab).