NFP vs. Contraception

The Difference Between NFP and Contraception

Is there really a difference?  

Using NFP or another fertility awareness method may seem at first glance to be the same as contraception because in both cases the end is the same, not to achieve a pregnancy.  Who would disagree that the same end is sought by abstaining from sexual activity entirely?  However, no one would say that abstaining is the same thing, so why would it be valid to claim that NFP use and contraception use are the same thing?

In fact, the most fundamental reason why the use of NFP is not morally wrong is that the act of abstaining from sex is not morally wrong.  While seeking to avoid a pregnancy (for serious reasons) it is morally licit (allowed) for spouses to choose to abstain during the days of each month when the woman is fertile and therefore capable of potentially becoming pregnant.  The reason it is immoral to use any form of contraception is the choice to have sex while using some method to thwart the possibility of conception.

Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality. These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, 'every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible' is intrinsically evil. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2370)

More information about the differences

These articles state the case for the differences from several different perspectives.  If you wish to discuss this issue please contact us.

The US Bishop's short Q&A answer to this question.


What's the Big Difference? article at

Is NFP Catholic Birth Control? article at

Birth Control and NFP, What's the Difference by Fr. Frank Pavone.

The Moral Difference Between NFP and Contraception by Doug McManaman on

USCCB: Science behind NFP

Learn to use NFP

Learning a Fertility Awareness Method or NFP (Natural Family Planning) is an investment in your health!

Click here to learn about local classes and to find a teacher.  

Many insurance providers cover some or all of the cost of this training.  Diocesan employees in Kansas City - St. Joseph who are enrolled in the HMO plan can obtain coverage for this health care.  Ask your employer/insurance provider if they cover this care under women's services.

Aren't there already too many people?

Is overpopulation real, and if so, is it a good reason to use contraceptive methods to have fewer children?

Made for Life

Made For Life