Since this question came up in a comment, I thought I would reprint this from the EWTN Catholic Q&A forum. This is a common question and there is much misinformation out there on this subject.
|Irregular cycles and the pill|
Question from Rani on 04-10-2004:
I read in one of your previous answers that irregular menstrual cycles in women are the result of “underlying problems”. I have study this subject and know for a fact that many women who have irregular cycles are perfectly healthy. Many women use the birth control pill as a way of regulating their cycle, because an irregular cycle can be very frustrating and even embarrasing at times. I’d like to know the Church’s position on using the pill solely for this purpose. Also, if such a married woman engages in intercourse with her husband while on the pill solely for the aforementioned purpose, is she still sinning in the eyes of the Church?|
Answer by Fr. Richard Hogan – NFP Outreach on 04-11-2004:|
If a woman is taking the pill for MEDICAL REASONS, i.e., non-contraceptive reasons, and THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE, then she is not sinning. However, since while on the pill, she can ovulate (break-through ovulation), she can conceive if there is sperm present around the time of ovulation. If there is a conception, a new child, then the baby will travel down the fallopian tube and try to lodge in the womb, but will be unable to do so because the pill prevents the build-up of soft lining in the womb. So the baby is “flushed out” of her body. This is the killing of a child, a very early abortion.
If there is absolutely no medical choice (and competent physicians have assured me over and over that there are alternatives for almost all conditions), then a woman MAY take the pill for medical reasons, but if she is married, she MUST abstain from the marital embrace for about ten days every month (the time when she would be normally fertile), otherwise there is the possibility of an abortion and a very grave sin.
Thanks for writing.