A journal of academic theology

On Women’s Health and Women’s Power: A Feminist Appraisal of Humanae Vitae

Catholic feminism has flourished in the decades following Humanae Vitae. Still, Catholic women do not speak with one voice on the issue of birth control. I argue that Humanae Vitae has had far-reaching damaging effects on many Catholic women and their spirituality, moral agency, and fertility. Nevertheless, any feminist critique of the document must also take seriously the experiences of Catholic women who express that practicing natural family planning has brought empowerment, good health, and increased spousal intimacy. Further ecclesial discernment is needed, with special attention to women’s leadership on this issue.
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