Birth control, also known as contraception, are methods, devices, or procedures used to prevent pregnancy as a result of sexual activity. Some cultures limit or discourage access to birth control because they consider it to be morally, religiously, or politically undesirable.
In 1960 the Food and Drug Administration approved the first form of the oral contraceptive pill, but because it was so effective and widespread, it also heightened the debate about the moral and health consequences of pre-marital sex and promiscuity.
The Roman Catholic Church has been opposed to contraception since at least the second century. Its current position was formally explained and expressed by Pope Paul VI's Humanae vitae in 1968. Subtitled On the Regulation of Birth, the encyclical re-affirms the orthodox teaching of the Catholic Church regarding married love, responsible parenthood, and the continued rejection of most forms of birth control.
Roman Catholics consider using contraceptives a mortal sin.
- Another visiting pope, stopping in Harlem again, could say that birth control is a plot to destroy the poor, according to the notes found in the desk of a New York advertising executive (Saint Fidgeta and Other Parodies; 28).
- Posidonio Spulci is a cardinal who, during the third session of Vatican III, spoke of his plan to make birth control a venial sin (Saint Fidgeta and Other Parodies, 88). It is this plan for changing its usage from a motral sin to a venial sin that Spulci is thought of as "liberal" (Saint, 89).
- Father Wampyir bemoans during Vatican III that students protesting the pope's visit to Mount Athos College in Corfu, New York, were "picketing chanceries and not birth control clinics" (Saint, 92).
- The name Saint Contraceptua Brown is a nod to the practice.
- The Prayer for Earthquakes suggests God strike down various people, including the one "who passes out birth control information on the street corners (Saint; 119).