Christian views on contraception

From Citizendium
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This article is developing and not approved.
Main Article
Related Articles  [?]
Bibliography  [?]
External Links  [?]
Citable Version  [?]
This editable Main Article is under development and subject to a disclaimer.

Christianity varies widely in is acceptance or rejection of medical forms of birth control methods and also natural family planning, with the Catholic Church completely rejecting everything, and Protestant groups running the gamut between nearly complete disapproval and nearly complete acceptance of all methods. The enormous political clout of Catholicism and conservative Christianity in the U.S. has frequently resulted in U. S. foreign aid being restricted from funding any programs promoting abortion in developing countries. Called the "Mexico City Policy", the restrictions also often effectively prevented providing any means of medical birth control from being provided in the developing world.[1].


The official doctrine of the Catholic Church morally opposes all forms of birth control, claiming that all sexual acts must be open to procreation. The only form of contraception permitted to Catholics is abstinence[2]. Even so, Catholics around the world in recent decades have voiced significant disagreement with the Church's stance on contraception.[3] The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops issued probably the most heavily dissenting document, the Winnipeg Statement. In it, the bishops argued that many Catholics found it very difficult if not impossible to obey Vitae, and tried to assert the Catholic principle of primacy of conscience in the matter.[4] Catholic theologians such as Charles Curran have criticized Vitae's stance against, specifically, artificial contraception.[5]


Protestant denominations of Christianity vary widely in their acceptance or rejection of birth control. Some conservative groups view contraception outside of marriage as morally wrong, considering it as an encouragement to promiscuity,[6] whereas other denominations do not speak to the matter at all. Quakers, for example, don't have a collective view on the rightness or wrongness of contraception. Several groups have indicated approval of modern methods of contraception, including Episcopalians, the United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, the Mormons, the United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalists, and Mennonite Church USA.[7] Among the myriad of doctrines, several distinct trends exist:

  • the "children in abundance" group, such as Quiverfull adherents who view all contraception as a contravention of divine purpose
  • the "children in managed abundance" group, which accept only Natural Family Planning
  • the "children in moderation" group, which accepts a wide range of contraceptive conditioned upon whether the motives of users are considered moral
  • the "no children" ("child-free") group, which sees itself as within their biblical rights to define their lives around non-natal concerns


  1. How US Government Restrictions on Foreign Aid for Abortion Services Backfired by Grant Miller, Eran Bendavid and Nina Brooks at the Institute for Economic Policy Reasearch (SIEPR) of Stanford University, Sept. 2019
  2. Humanae Vitae: Encyclical of Pope Paul VI on the Regulation of Birth, July 25, 1968 (html). The Vatican.
  3. A summary and restatement of the debate is available in Roderick Hindery. "The Evolution of Freedom as Catholicity in Catholic Ethics." Anxiety, Guilt, and Freedom. Eds. Benjamin Hubbard and Brad Starr, UPA, 1990.
  4. Canadian Bishops' Statement on the Encyclical "Humanae Vitae".
  5. Charles E. Curran,. Loyal Dissent: Memoir of a Catholic Theologian (Moral Traditions). Washington, D.C: Georgetown University Press. ISBN 1-58901-087-6. 
  6. Christopher G. Ellison and Patricia Goodson (1997). "Conservative Protestantism and Attitudes toward Family Planning in a Sample of Seminarians". Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 36 (4).
  7. The Morality of Contraception: Family Planning Is Family Values, Say the Majority of America’s Major Religions from the Center for American Progress, Feb. 23, 2012