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Kathy S. wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Is it OK to use things traditionally used for contraception, namely birth control, for non-contraceptive reasons like:
    • to lessen severe menstrual cramping or
    • to control acne?


  { Is it OK to use things traditionally used for contraception for non-contraceptive reasons? }

Mike replied:

Hi Kathy,

This is a good question we have answered in the past. I had a hard time finding it in our searchable knowledge base but the posting below will address an additional non-contraceptive reason besides the ones you have mentioned.

Whether the reasons you brought up in your question for taking contraceptives are justifiable, I do not know. My colleagues may wish to add more.

When contraceptives are used to interfere with, or cause the destruction of, new life in a mother’s womb, it is obviously prohibited, as most contraceptives are abortifacients.

The Church has always been pro-life because Jesus has always been pro-life. That’s kind of a DUH statement but I feel it has to be said in our current sex-saturated culture.

If you have non-contraceptive reasons to use contraceptives, I would first check with our friends at the National Catholic Bioethics Center because usually the pill destroys the chemical make-up of a woman’s physiology.

I hope this helps,


Paul replied:

Dear Kathy,

In theory, if contraceptive pills were to:

  • block sperm from meeting egg only, and
  • not also have the back-up mechanism of making the uterine wall impossible for a conceived human being to attach to . . . causing an abortion, as so many do

then, under the moral principle of double-effect, it could be seen as permissible, however, that's not the case.

In other words, since most birth control pills do have that back-up mechanism that aborts tiny human beings if they are conceived, the principle of double effect would not work and it would be immoral to use them for even health reasons.

Contact the Pope Paul VI Institute ( They can tell you which pills never cause abortions and hence which would be moral to take for health reasons. They may also help you get to the root of your problem to seek a cure rather than just deal with the symptoms.



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