Philosophical Approaches to the Catholic Church’s Prohibition of Contraceptives

Clare Saunders, Colby College

Document Type Honors Thesis (Colby Access Only)

Full-text download restricted to Colby College campus only.


One can hardly pick up a newspaper or watch CNN without encountering the cultural ramifications of the Catholic Church’s policy on contraceptives, sexuality, and women. While many consider its ban on contraceptives outdated, the Church’s recent confrontation with President Obama concerning health insurance and contraceptives has brought Catholicism and its treatment of women to the forefront of national conscience. However, the effects of this policy are not limited to women of the United States. There are over a billion Catholics in the world, many million of whom reside in developing nations. Access to contraceptives and accurate education about their function, for the purposes of both family planning and STI prevention, is especially important to the welfare of these women. Thus the Church’s refusal to permit and disseminate accurate information about, let alone advocate for, contraception has an especially negative effect on these women.