On the return from his recent visit to the Philippines, Pope Francis, when asked about family planning, was quite strong in his response. He said that reproducing like rabbits is irresponsible. But he also reaffirmed the church’s ban on artificial methods of family planning.
The so-called natural methods of family planning allowed by the church might work well for individual, motivated and educated couples using the method to the letter. However, statistics show that when practiced under less than ideal circumstances these methods have a high, and I would add, unacceptable failure rate. This may result in unwanted pregnancies that carry a significant morbidity and even mortality, especially in poor and developing countries, where good maternity care and safe abortions might not be available.
Stating that couples should not reproduce like rabbits (a somewhat condescending remark) and at the same time reaffirming the ban on artificial and effective methods of contraception seems contradictory. The church cannot have it both ways.
William J. LeMaire, M.D.,