What has been the Impact of Contraception on Society? On Married Couples?
Many would likely be surprised at how long all Christian churches agreed on this teaching against contraception. It was only in 1930 that some Protestant denominations began to reject this long-held position. Those opposed to this trend predicted an increase in premarital sex, adultery, acceptance of divorce, and abortion. Later, in 1968, Pope Paul VI warned that the use of contraception would allow one spouse to treat the other more like an object than a person, and that in time governments would be tempted to impose laws limiting family size. Pope John Paul II called attention to the close association between contraception and abortion, noting that “the negative values inherent in the ‘contraceptive mentality’ . . . are such that they in fact strengthen this temptation [to abortion] when an unwanted life is conceived” (Evangelium Vitae, no. 13).
These predictions have come true. Today we see a pandemic of sexually transmitted diseases, an enormous rise in cohabitation, one in three children born outside of marriage, and abortion used by many when contraception fails. A failure to respect married love’s power to help create new life has eroded respect for life and for the sanctity of marriage.