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The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 16, Issue 3, Autumn 2016

Janet E. Smith, John S. Grabowski, J. Budziszewski, Maria Fedoryka
Pages 449-474

Self-Gift: The Heart of Humanae vitae

It is possible to defend the Church’s teaching that contraception is incompatible with God’s plan for sexuality in many different ways. This essay sketches the fundamental views of reality common to all the defenses and the main lines of the most prominent defenses, some based on natural law (of which there are several versions), on the theology of the body, and on the physical, psychological, and social consequences of the use of contraception. While all the defenses have merit, the argument based on the recognition that sexual intercourse is meant to be a complete self-gift has a special power of its own.