Is taking the Pill the same as NFP? part 2

“Two interesting analogies help to illustrate the moral difference between a contra-life will which simply wants ‘no baby’ through abstention and a contra-life will that wants to prevent a baby.

“The first analogy concerns truth-telling. Perhaps Smith knows an important truth which honesty requires him to divulge, but he is loathe to reveal it. He wants to bury it. Smith has a contra-truth will, but perhaps it only goes so far. He is willing to keep silent (abstain from speaking) but not willing to lie (add a counter-measure to speaking). Smith may be doing wrong in keeping silent; but as long as he keeps his mouth shut, he is at least not lying (contracepting).

“The second analogy concerns poker. Jones likes to play with a group of friends, but he fears that his long winning-streak is over. He doesn’t want to give his friends a chance to win their money back. Unfairly, he refuses to play. He has a contra-fairness will. But perhaps it only goes so far. Jones is willing to deprive them of their chance, but he is not willing to cheat. He is not willing to put an ace up his sleeve or bring out a marked deck, though these counter-measures would prevent the losses he fears. He may be wrong not to play (abstain); but so long as he doesn’t play, he doesn’t cheat (contracept).

“Of course Smith should be told that his silence is dishonest; he should come to understand that lying is not the only form of dishonesty. And Jones should be told that his refusal to play is taking unfair advantage and so is more like cheating than he’d care to admit. But a moralist only compromises his own ability to persuade these men, if he says that their actions are a lie and a cheat, respectively.

“I conclude that couples choosing to abstain periodically are never contracepting.”

William H. Marshner, “Can a Couple Practicing NFP Be Practicing Contraception?“, Gregorianum 77 (4):677-704 (1996).

[See part 1 HERE.]

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