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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. 1. What can you tell me about the hysterectomy? Can a Catholic have the procedure done for the purpose of birth control?

A. 1. A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. A hysterectomy is a permanent method of birth control.

The views of the Catholic Church on hysterectomies and birth control in general are quite specific. Good Catholics do not entertain any form of birth control. To obtain a hysterectomy is a mortal sin.

The Catholic Church teaches that any kind of birth control is against the tenets of the Holy Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that single people should abstain from sexual relations of any kind and that fertility in marriage is the highest achievement you can make. Artificial contraception of any kind is against the teachings of the Church. Sexual relations are the ultimate expression of love within the marriage vows in the eyes of the Church.

In general, an hysterectomy is morally justified if the removal of the uterus is necessary for grave medical reasons. It is not justified when the purpose is direct sterilization. "Therapeutic means which induce infertility are allowed (e.g., hysterectomy), if they are not specifically intended to cause infertility (e.g., the uterus is cancerous, so the preservation of life is intended)." [Humanae Vitae]

"The ruling by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stipulates that the only time a woman is morally permitted to have a hysterectomy is when the uterus is so damaged it presents an immediate threat to her health or life." [National Catholic Reported; August 12, 1994]

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