30 Days (traditionalist RC publication)

July-August 1988 page 50


The Vatican has issued one of its sharpest statements ever against what is termed the "contraceptive imperialism" which leads to massive and dangerous abuses of human rights throughout the world.

The address was delivered in Bangkok, Thailand at the June 19-24 Conference sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) on "Ethics and Human Values in Family Planning: An International 'Dialogue on Rights and Responsibilities of Individuals and Societies. " The statement was read by Dr., VaIeria Navarretta of the Institute for Natural Family Planning Research in Rome, Italy.

The eloquence and clarity of the statement persuaded 30 DAYS to publish the following excerpts without further comment.

The Catholic Church has a world-wide interest in Family Planning. Today, there are thousands of Catholic men and women, together with other people of other religious traditions, who are involved in promoting or using the natural methods of Family Planning which the Church promotes and encourages. The Church enters a dialogue on the rights and responsibilities of individuals and societies as the largest single international religious community on earth...

In order to contribute to this important dialogue, six challenges will be proposed in ways which may lead to common ethical accord. These challenges raise crucial moral issues in Family Planning today.

From the practical content of these challenges, ethics and human values in Family Planning will be seen to include the rights and health of women and men, the rights and the well-being of the family, the ethnic, cultural and religious values of peoples, the-economic welfare of many people in the Third World, and ultimately, the value of human life itself.


1. The Abortion-Inducing Effect of Certain Contraceptives

The right to freedom of conscience and the right to information requires that the primary or secondary abortion-inducing effect of a contraceptive substance or device be communicated to the persons who will use or prescribe or provide that substance or device....

To present an abortion-inducing substance as simply a sterilizing agent is to tell lie, precisely at that point where many users and providers would refuse to be a party to an abortion. If they were to conceal the primary or secondary abortion inducing effect of a contraceptive substance or device, researchers and promoters of contraception would be violating the consciences of women and men, including their freedom of religion and the right to hold to the traditions of a culture, nation or a tribe.

The antifertility vaccine has been identified as an abortion inducing substance.... Researchers claim that this vaccine against the "disease" of pregnancy will be administered by injection, with effects lasting for one year. But will this vaccine which prevents implantation or provokes spontaneous abortion be described as such?

The Catholic Church deeply regrets this insensitive slide into abortion-as-contraceptive, with all its grave moral implications.

Simple, explicit descriptions of the abortion-inducing effect ought to be included on labels, in the same way that certain governments require warnings concerning the less morally sensitive effects of tobacco.

2. Adverse Secondary Effects of Certain Contraceptives

The right of each person to good health and the principle of totality in bodily well-being places an obligation on researchers, promoters and providers of contraceptives that they communlcate any possible bad secondary effects of a contraceptive substance or device to the women or men who will use it.

Depo-Provera continues to arouse resentment in the Third World. This injectible contraceptive cannot be used on women in the United States but continues to be used in the Third World. Why?....There are not two ethical "laws," One protecting women and men in the First World, the other allowing the dumping of harmful substances and devices in the Third World. Every person has the right to know what a contraceptive substance or device does to his or her body.

Therefore, the Church urges governments to protect the health of their people by requiring strict control of the use of harmful contraceptives.

3. Long-term Sterilizing Effects of Certain Contraceptives

The inalienable right of spouses to found a family and to decide on the spacing of births and the number of children to be born places an obligation on researchers, promoters and providers of contraceptives that they communicate any possible permanent or long-term sterilizing effect of a contraceptive substance or device to the women or men who will use it.

4. The Myth of a Universal Population Crisis

Although there are countries with serious general or regional population crises, the world "population bomb" is gradually being revealed as a myth. But that myth remains as the basis for the ideology of what may be called contraceptive imperialism. The ideology may be reduced to the view that lower population leads to a better economy.

5. [? ........ hmmm, ....error ... ? ..... jp]

6. AIDS and Contraception

In themselves, as technology, the natural methods provide no protection from AIDS. However, they have been observed to encourage, maintain or restore stable sexual relationships. Therefore, in the field of Family Planning, only the natural methods are promoting the single-partner principles, which governments are now proposing as the only sure way of avoiding AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases.