CHAPTER 128 NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING: GOD'S PLAN FOR FERTILITY
American Life League

There can be no two opinions about the necessity of birth control. But the only method handed down from ages past is self-control or Brahmacharya. It is an infallible sovereign remedy, doing good to those who practice it.

                                                                                                 Mahatma Gandhi.[1]

Anti-Life Philosophy.

The rhythm method is demanding because it requires a couple to surrender their love life in exchange for a sex life.

                                                                  Selig Newbardt and Harold Schulman.[2]

Only ignorant Catholics depend on "rhythm" anymore. This method is so primitive and unreliable that it can hardly be referred to as "family planning."

There is absolutely no need for modern women to slavishly and mindlessly hew to outdated religious dogma when there are far more effective means of birth control available for their use.

Introduction.

The Sexual Revolution, which swept the Western world in the early 1960s and still endures, ushered in an unprecedented age of total sexual freedom. This 'Revolution,' partially inspired by the advent of a "safe and legal" contraceptive the birth-control pill has profoundly and permanently altered our society.

Unfortunately, the price of any freedom is always steep. The philosophy of the Sexual Revolution is, by its nature, uncontainable. It cannot be isolated. It has inevitably spilled over into other areas, and, as a result, a virtual state of ethical and moral anarchy now reigns supreme in our land.

The United States is currently suffering from the highest rates of abortion, venereal disease, child abuse, murder, rape, infanticide, alcoholism, and drug abuse in its history.

What is the answer?

Pope Paul VI clearly outlined the solution to our country's problems in his prophetic Humanae Vitae more than two decades ago.

Our society, if it even wants to escape the prison it has built for itself, must attack the roots of the Sexual Revolution, just as we attack the roots of a fire that is out of control. We must learn sexual self-discipline and sacrifice as individuals. Ultimately, if enough persons are willing, a counter-revolution will eliminate abortion, infanticide, and all of the other evils that now afflict our land.

This chapter examines the various viewpoints regarding natural family planning (NFP), and describes its methods, advantages, disadvantages, and resources for learning.

Is Natural Family Planning Biblical?

Introduction.

The "rhythm" method is dead. In its place are the sympto-thermal and ovulation methods of natural family planning, which use natural signs to pinpoint the fertile times in a woman's cycle. The natural methods of birth regulation offer many profound advantages over the artificial methods, as described later in this chapter. However, there is considerable disagreement as to whether or not natural family planning methods are Biblical and worthy of Christian living. This chapter examines both sides of this delicate and critical issue.

The basic question is this: Can the various methods of natural family planning be used in accordance with God's plan, or are they just another expression of the "contraceptive mentality," to be lumped together with artificial means?

The Definition of Contraception.

By definition, any attempt to prevent conception is called "contraception." Any jams, jellies, rubber goods, or other man-made items for the purpose of avoiding conception are methods of "artificial contraception." Therefore, the natural methods of family planning are properly classified by some individuals as a form of "natural contraception."

These methods, including the Billings and sympto-thermal methods (STM), make use of the natural rhythms of a woman's body to plan or prevent childbearing. By contrast, artificial contraception uses human technology to override or forcibly inhibit the woman's natural processes by chemical or mechanical brute force.

The Two Views.

No more than 15 percent of Christians in the United States use a method of natural fertility control. There is a growing debate among Catholic and fundamentalist NFP users as to whether or not the method is in accordance with God's plan for our fertility.

The following paragraphs examine both sides of this interesting debate.

View #1: NFP is Not in Accord With God's Plan.

Introduction.

Many religious people of all faiths believe that even natural family planning is the first step towards giving in to the "contraceptive mentality."

The "contraceptive mentality" takes the critical first step of classifying unplanned pregnancies as "contraceptive failures." When a child who is by his very nature an infinitely valuable gift from God is looked upon as a failure, the natural human impulse is to remedy the failure with abortion. This is, of course, the important psychological link between contraception and abortion.

Our Purpose and the Purpose of Sex.

As a species, human beings seem to have lost sight of our role and purpose on this earth. God created the universe and everything in it for His pleasure not ours! He created us to give Him glory, not just to re-create the world and its natural laws to make our lives easier and more pleasurable.

After all, the word "Lord" means "absolute, unquestioned despot" in the Greek and Hebrew translations. The Lord's rule is absolute but, unlike human despots, His mercy and justice are also absolute. By definition, everything that God does is infinitely good and just. Our opinions regarding His actions are therefore completely irrelevant.

These most basic and logical truths are utterly alien to the utilitarian anti-life philosophy so prevalent in the world today. If a believing Christian should try to discuss these concepts with an agnostic, or, sadly, even with an average churchgoing 'Christian,' he will most likely be dismissed as a kook or a religious fanatic or will be met with an uncomprehending stare.

According to Scripture, God views sex as having only one purpose: Procreation of more individuals to give Him glory. He told us in Genesis to "Go forth and multiply" for the sole purpose of giving Him glory. There is no real virtue in simply deciding to have a lot of kids, because any animal or insect can breed indiscriminately. The virtue lies in giving ourselves and our procreative power over to God's control and letting Him do with us what He wills.

The pleasure related with intercourse is not the purpose of sex it is merely an associated benefit. However, man's utilitarian nature has turned this relationship on its head now, the only purpose of sex is pleasure, and procreation is a 'dreaded complication' to be avoided at all costs.

God's Plan for Babies.

Scripture says that the Lord knew us before we were even born. God's plan has been in existence since the beginning of time. Every little baby, born or unborn, has an important place in this plan. More specifically, God would not allow a baby to be conceived unless He had a purpose for that baby. Therefore, if we use any form of artificial or natural contraception, we are denying God His purpose and we are saying "NO!" to His plan.

Some Christians allege that using contraception is not an important issue, because if God really wants a baby to be born, He will arrange for it to be born when the couple is not using contraception, or allow that particular baby to be born to another couple. But this same curious Hinduistic logic can be used to support abortion and even infanticide and other types of murder.

If members of the pro-life movement adopt this attitude, they really shouldn't care how many babies are killed in abortuaries, because God will compensate by having the babies He wants born given to non-aborting couples. The same logic could be applied to murder. We really shouldn't care if people are killed in robberies or war or acts of terrorism. If God allows individuals to die, then they have obviously fulfilled their roles in His plan.

In fact, why should we even bother praying? God knows what we want. He knows that we adore Him. Why even bother having churches or organized religion?

The fallacy of this reasoning is obvious, because every baby is a part of God's plan. By the use of contraception and abortion, we are making God conform to our plan, instead of the other way around. The logical conclusion of this line of reasoning is that even natural family planning is entirely contrary to God's plan, and is really no different from any other method of contraception.

The inevitable conclusion of this line of thinking is that even natural family planning is immoral.

Contraception = Genocide.

This equation may appear extreme to many believers, but consider the logic behind it.

Most artificial contraception (with the exception of the barrier methods) is abortifacient. In the Scriptural sense, the killing of a person is not only murder, it is genocide, because you kill that person's descendants as well.

In this country, we are already into a 'second generation' of abortion those women who legally aborted their children 20 years ago not only killed those children, but their grandchildren who would have been born last year, this year, next year and the year after that. In fact, little preborn girls and boys who were killed in 1973 would be entering their childbearing years now.

Therefore, abortion and all methods of contraception including natural family planning are not only murder, they are genocide in the Scriptural meaning of the word.

View #2: NFP is in Accord With God's Plan.

Introduction.

The above paragraphs examine the view that any form of contraception (including NFP) is contrary to God's plan. The following paragraphs discuss the philosophy that natural family planning is the only form of 'contraception' that does follow God's plan.

The various methods of natural family planning are entirely acceptable to all of the major faiths. However, there are many Christians and Moslems who believe that even NFP users are victims of the "contraceptive mentality," and that every act of intercourse should be completely open to procreation.

The answer to this view is discussed in the preceding paragraphs.

Attitude of the Church.

Artificial contraception is unacceptable to many Christian and other faiths. The Catholic Church and a number of small Protestant and Jewish denominations teach that the only truly acceptable method of birth regulation is natural family planning.

Basically, the rationale for this attitude is quite simple: For 1,900 years, all of Christianity stood united in its condemnation of artificial birth control. Only since 1930 have artificial means been allowed by some churches.

We must ask ourselves the fundamental question: Which teaching is truly the fruit of the Holy Spirit, the teaching that has endured for more than 1,900 years or the technology-based fad that is now only 60 years old?

Common sense should reveal the answer to any person who is being honest with himself.

The Catholic church has always allowed the use of infertile periods to space children for serious reasons. Pope Pius XII, in his Encyclical on Christian Marriage, states that there are only three conditions by which a couple may consciously limit the number of children they have;

• poor health;
• inadequate finances at the present time, or
• the couple already have as many children as they can properly care for.

Some people may equate these exceptions to those that are commonly used by anti-lifers to justify artificial contraception and even abortion. However, married couples who take the time and trouble to learn natural family planning only to practice a contraceptive anti-baby lifestyle whose focus is their own convenience are extremely rare. Couples who learn NFP generally have good communication and a high degree of self-discipline. If it is the couple's intent to contracept, the artificial means are much easier to use.

For a more detailed history of the Christian Church's attitude towards artificial contraception, see Chapter 98, "Catholic Church Position on Contraception," and Chapter 104, "Scripture on Contraception."

The Uniqueness of Woman.

God instructed us as a species to go forth and multiply. Why, therefore, did He make human women unique among all females? Women are the most infertile mammals on earth in terms of total percentage of fertile time. Every Christian believes that God does everything for a purpose. Why, therefore, did He create woman with a fertile/infertile cycle?

There is a solid Biblical reference supporting periodic abstinence. Leviticus 15:19,28 recalls that the Jews prescribed two weeks of abstinence at the beginning of a woman's cycle because she was considered to be 'unclean' during this time. This also meant that sexual relations would be resumed at the time of maximum fertility, and insured the survival of the tribes of Israel.

The critical difference between NFP and artificial contraception is this: With artificial means, a person is deliberately interfering with the natural cycle of fertility. With NFP, one is accommodating this cycle and learning about it. The person acts within God's plan as He designed the human body. If God had meant every act of intercourse to result in a baby, he would have designed men and women to achieve this result.

NFP and the Contraceptive Mentality.

It is, of course, still possible to use NFP and be a victim of the contraceptive mentality. As St. Augustine wrote in his work The Morals of the Manichees;

Is it not you who used to warn us to watch as much as we could the time after purification of the menses when a woman is likely to conceive, and at that time refrain from intercourse, lest a soul be implicated in the flesh? From this it follows that you consider marriage is not to procreate children, but to satiate lust. Marriage, as the marriage tablets themselves proclaim, joins male and female for the procreation of children. Whoever says that to procreate children is a worse sin than to copulate thereby prohibits [the purpose of] marriage; and he makes the woman no more a wife than a harlot, who, when she has been given certain gifts, is joined to man to satisfy his lust. If there is a wife there is matrimony. But there is no matrimony where motherhood is prevented; for then there is no wife.[3]

Many childless fertile couples have an NFP method perfected to the point that they have successfully avoided children entirely. Many such couples are unbelievers, and simply use NFP in order to "be natural."

Perhaps the best example of an NFP/ contraceptive mentality link is provided by the Neofeminists. The Federation of Feminist Women's Health Center sand the Fertility Awareness Network (FAN) recommend NFP solely to avoid the deleterious physical effects of the artificial methods. They recommend abortion as a backup for method failure.

In one sense, the use of no contraception at all (including NFP) is identical to using artificial birth control. In both instances, the woman is always available for sexual relations. In both cases, she is literally at the disposal of her husband and must bear the total burden of responsibility for childbearing.

As a practical matter, the approaches of using no contraception at all and employing artificial methods might be for those people who don't want to be bothered with a period of abstinence and/or who don't want to take the time to learn about a woman's natural cycle of fertility/infertility. This may be a particular danger to women who are totally dominated by their husbands, or to couples who are ignorant of biology or the Church's teachings regarding reproduction.

Spiritual Leaders Speak.

It is interesting to read what two of the greatest spiritual leaders of our century Mahatma Gandhi and Pope John Paul II have to say about the use of contraception.

The two quotes below are worthy of study, since they brilliantly and concisely summarize the physical, emotional, and spiritual arguments against the use of artificial contraception.

Sex urge is a fine and noble thing. There is nothing to be ashamed of it. But it is meant only for the act of creation. Any other use of it is a sin against God and humanity. Contraceptives of a kind there were before and there will be thereafter, but the use of them was formerly regarded as sinful. It was reserved for our generation to glorify vice by calling it a virtue. The greatest disservice protagonists of contraceptives are rendering to the youth of India is to fill their minds with what appears to me wrong ideology. Let the young men and women of India who hold her destiny in their hands, beware of this false god and guard the treasure with which God has blessed them and use it, if they wish, for the only purpose for which it is intended.

I suggest that it is cowardly to refuse to face the consequences of one's acts. Persons who use contraceptives will never learn the value of self-restraint. They will not need it. Self-indulgence with contraceptives may prevent the coming of children but will sap the vitality of both men and women, perhaps more of men than of women. It is unmanly to refuse battle with the devil.

                                                                                                 Mahatma Gandhi.[1]

 ... theological reflection is able to perceive and is called to study further the difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle: It is a difference which is much wider and deeper than is usually thought, one which involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality. The choice of the natural rhythms involves accepting the cycle of the person, that is the woman, and thereby accepting dialogue, reciprocal respect, shared responsibility and self-control. To accept the cycle and to enter into dialogue means to recognize both the spiritual and corporal character of conjugal communion and to live personal love with its requirement of fidelity. In this context, the couple comes to experience how conjugal communion is enriched with those values of tenderness and affection which constitute the inner soul of human sexuality, in its physical dimension also. In this way, sexuality is respected and promoted in its truly and fully human dimension, and is never "used" as an "object" that, by breaking the personal unity of soul and body, strikes at God's creation itself at the level of the deepest interaction of nature and person.

                                                                                               Pope John Paul II.[4]

The Advantages of Natural Family Planning.

The natural methods of fertility regulation offer many advantages over the artificial, man-made methods, as listed below.

THE ADVANTAGES OF NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING OVER THE ARTIFICIAL METHODS

(1) NFP does not interfere with the natural reproductive processes that God has designed (as described in previous paragraphs).

(2) NFP avoids the use of mechanical devices or powerful hormones which may cause serious side effects.

(3) When learned and used properly, NFP is among the most effective methods of nonpermanent birth control known to man.

(4) NFP is free.

(5) NFP strengthens marriage and family.

(6) NFP is aesthetic.

(7) Finally, NFP, in contrast to all methods of artificial method of birth control, allows women to learn about their bodies and work with them, rather than remaining ignorant and subduing them with chemicals.

These advantages are described in more detail in the following paragraphs.

Advantage #2: NFP Has No Side Effects.

The most commonly-used methods of birth control are, to put it bluntly, killers. Condoms commonly break and allow the transmission of AIDS and other deadly venereal diseases. The intra-uterine device (IUD) has killed scores of women, not to mention the fact that all IUDs are also abortifacient. The birth control pill has killed more than ten thousand women due to cardiovascular and other complications over the last twenty years, and have been labeled "unavoidably unsafe" by the Courts.[5]

Death is only one of the very long list of severe side effects that even Neofeminists recognize as part and parcel of artificial birth control: Stroke, severe bleeding, sterility, repeated miscarriages, loss of vision, headaches, infections, and so on.

Even one of the original inventors of the birth control pill, Dr. Carl Djerassi of Stanford University, acknowledges that what the world needs is a "jet-age rhythm method" that can be used to avoid all of the ill effects of his and other birth-control methods.[6]

Natural family planning not only is free of side effects, but it allows women to know and 'read' their bodies so well that they may be able to detect certain diseases and injuries to their reproductive systems early. The ability to track symptoms and anomalies can save lives in the case of certain cancers.

Finally, NFP can do one thing that no method of birth control can ever do; it can help a couple get pregnant. In fact, many infertility centers begin their investigations of a couple by teaching them the basics of natural family planning and having them observe the woman's cycles for several months in order to time intercourse for periods of maximum fertility.

Advantage #3: NFP Is Effective.

The only 100 percent effective methods of birth control are abstinence, homosexuality, and complete castration (or hysterectomy).

Even abortion and all forms of sterilization fail on a regular basis.

Natural family planning, if learned and used properly, is as effective as any other method of nonpermanent birth control. The condom and diaphragm have a surprise pregnancy rate of from five to ten per 100 woman-years. The pill and IUD pregnancy rates range from two to seven per 100 woman-years. NFP has a method effectiveness of only one to two surprise pregnancies per 100 woman-years.

A summary of the information in Chapter 99, "Contraceptive Effectiveness and Use," is given below.

METHOD EFFECTIVENESS OF VARIOUS CONTRACEPTIVE METHODS FOR WOMEN OF CHILDBEARING AGE

                                                                 Method
                                                             Effectiveness
Birth Control Method                           (per year)

Sexual sterilization                                       98.7%
Natural family planning                                 98.0%
Birth control pill                                           96.2%
Condom                                                      95.5%
Intrauterine device (IUD)                             94.6%
Cervical cap                                                93.1%
Diaphragm                                                   86.0%

Reference. Robert A. Hatcher. Contraceptive Technology, 1986-1987 (13th Revised Edition). New York: Irvington Publishers, 1986, page 139. Also see Kim Painter. "'Disturbing' Data on Birth Control Failure." USA Today, July 13, 1989, page 1D.

Advantage #4: NFP is Cheap.

As Figure 128-1 shows, artificial birth control costs an average of about $200 a year, compared with about $5 a year for NFP (for books, classes, and charts).

FIGURE 128-1
COMPARATIVE ANNUAL COSTS OF CONTRACEPTIVE METHODS

                                               Annual Cost of Contraceptive Method
Method of Contraception          Direct        Indirect            Total

Natural Family Planning                $ 5.00          $ 0.00             $ 5.00
Condoms                                      85.00             0.00              85.00
Diaphragm or cervical cap           120.00           25.00            150.00
Sponge                                        250.00          25.00            275.00
Birth control pill                           200.00         300.00            500.00
Intra-uterine device                      200.00         400.00            600.00

Definitions.
Direct costs are those costs that are borne by the couple or by an insurance company. Indirect costs are those costs that are borne by society in general, i.e, sicknesses, injuries, and legal costs caused by the respective contraceptive methods.

References: (1) A. Torres and J.D. Forrest. "The Costs of Contraception." The Alan Guttmacher Institute's Family Planning Perspectives, November 1983, pages 70 to 72. (2) Janet Filips. "NORPLANT." The Oregonian, January 20, 1991, pages L1 and L4.

Some people might think that this the artificial methods represent a real bargain: What's $200 for a year's 'protection?' Besides, insurance will pay for the IUD or pill.

But this $200 is only the direct cost of artificial contraception. It has been estimated that the costs of injuries and litigation caused by various artificial birth control methods average more than five billion dollars per year! Add to this the costs of lost time and productivity due to sickness and injury, and the real cost to society per couple on artificial contraception runs as high as $40 per month.

These costs are summarized in Figure 128-1.

Advantage #5: NFP Strengthens Marriage and Family.

Contrasting Divorce Rates.

Recent comprehensive studies have concluded that two-thirds of all marriages that now take place in the United States will end in divorce or separation.

Contrast this abysmal failure rate with that of married couples who use natural family planning: The divorce/separation rate among couples who use NFP is less than one in eight. NFP can't take credit for all of this huge discrepancy, of course, but it undoubtedly contributes to marital fidelity and endurance substantially by fostering an atmosphere of knowledge, communication, intimacy, and willingness to sacrifice for each other.

How NFP Helps. How exactly does NFP strengthen marriage? It increases the husband's respect for his wife's fertility. It allows the couple to share equally the responsibility of deciding whether to have a child and whether to make love, thereby not dumping the entire responsibility onto the wife, which understandably causes her to become resentful. The wife appreciates being able to avoid the side effects of artificial birth control.

Additionally, since it is more effective than other methods of birth regulation, and since the couple are generally pro-life to start with, the bitter struggles over abortion are completely avoided.

Finally, a regular period of abstinence has been decisively shown to help strengthen marriages by obliging couples to show their affection in other ways for a few days every month, thereby improving vital communications skills.

Of course, a person infected with the anti-life mentality thinks that this last point is ridiculous and moot, because he basically believes that both animals and humans are simply slaves to their hormones and have no self-control.

Two such persons are abortionists Selig Newbardt Harold Schulman, who claim that "The rhythm method is demanding because it requires a couple to surrender their love life in exchange for a sex life."[2]

Such arrogant and sloganistic statements are typical of the willfully ignorant attitude of doctors who make their living off of crippling the fertility of women and men through abortion and artificial contraception.

Setting the Example for Teens.

NFP also sets the example for teenagers. Father Paul Marx of Human Life International likes to say that "Contracepting parents beget fornicating teenagers." This is mere common sense. Teenagers are not stupid. You can't live in the same house with someone and keep even your most intimate secrets from them for 18 years. Teens see what is going on in the family and they know their parent's attitudes.

Teens correctly reject the hypocritical attitude "Do as I say, not as I do." If parents use artificial contraception, there is absolutely no way that their admonitions to avoid premarital sex are going to carry any weight at all with their children. However, if parents demonstrate love and affection for each other through the use of NFP, this message will shine bright and clear, in a manner that is unmistakable to your teenagers. It will also help parents and their children strengthen and nurture their Faith for obvious reasons.

Reason #6: NFP is Aesthetic.

Of all of the methods of natural or artificial contraception, only NFP allows the couple to make love as God and His nature intended. Some NFP teachers derive great amusement from reading 'lovemaking manuals' that attempt to incorporate condoms, diaphragms, and various messy jams and jellies into the act of making love.

It is an enduring contradiction that the very people who stress the "natural" aspects of their lives mess up their bodies with artificial drugs and devices and cannot allow even the most intimate aspect of their existence to be truly natural.

It is also ironic in the extreme that the same Neofeminists who squawk so loudly and so consistently about "controlling their own bodies" seem eager to surrender control of their reproductive systems to powerful hormones and IUDs. Strangely, the IUDs (for a further touch of irony) often resemble the twisted coathangers that the same Neofems use as a symbol for their pro-abortion sentiments.

Breastfeeding and Natural Family Planning.

Another important part of the NFP philosophy is ecological breastfeeding, which is making use of what God has given us for obvious purposes. In ages past, 'educated' women tended to look down their noses at breastfeeding, thinking that such an activity was reserved for backward, ignorant peasant women. However, in the last twenty years, a dramatic breastfeeding revolution has taken place in the United States. Three times as many babies are being breastfed now than there were in 1970. Many women now allow their children to wean themselves at the age of two or three instead of forcing the issue.

As the mother's educational level increases, she is much more likely to breastfeed her babies. Figure 128-2 shows that college-educated women in the United States breastfeed their infants at a rate three times higher than women who did not complete high school.

FIGURE 128-2
BREASTFEEDING PRACTICE IN THE UNITED STATES

                                        Percent of Babies Breast-Fed 3 Months or More
Mother's Education         1970      1972      1974      1976      1978      1980

Did not complete high school 6.0         6.8        5.6          9.6        5.5       16.4
Completed high school          7.3         7.2      12.0        20.1       23.1      25.8
Completed college              20.4        22.1      31.6       43.7       42.5      50.8
All Babies                           10.6        10.8      15.0       25.7       28.5      32.6

Reference: Bureau of the Census, United States Department of Commerce. National Data Book and Guide to Sources. Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1989 (109th Edition). Table 92, "Breast-Feeding By Characteristic of Mother and Birth Year of Baby: 1970 to 1981."

For information on breastfeeding, contact one of the following organizations. The Couple to Couple League also has information on natural child spacing through breastfeeding.

Couple to Couple League
3621 Glenmore Avenue
Post Office Box 111184
Cincinnati, Ohio 45211-1184
Telephone: (513) 661-7612

La Leche League International
96616 Minneapolis Avenue
Post Office Box 1209
Franklin Park, Illinois 60131
Telephone: (312) 455-7730

The La Leche League has many chapters listed in local phone books.

Nursing Mothers Counsel
Post Office Box 50063
Palo Alto, California 94303

International Association of Parents and Professionals
for Safe Alternatives in Childbirth (NAPSAC)
Route 1, Box 646
Marble Hill, Missouri 63764
Telephone: (314) 238-2010

NAPSAC provides both alternative childbirth and breastfeeding information.

Why Not Natural Family Planning?

Introduction.

If natural family planning boasts all of the great advantages described above, why is it not more commonly used?

There are three basic reasons: Ignorance, laziness, and money.

Curiously, NFP practitioners will probably agree with a writer for the Feminist Womens Health Centers, a chain of abortion clinics, as she summarizes the real reasons why NFP is not more widespread;

Fertility Awareness poses a big threat to the hormonal contraceptive industry. If women are given the choice of the Pill or implants with their side effects, lack of STD protection, expense, and reliance on doctors; or Fertility Awareness, with or without barrier methods, which seems the more logical choice? Both have the same effectiveness (98.5 - 99.2 percent). Fertility Awareness costs nothing to use, has no side effects, and puts reproductive responsibility firmly in the hands of the user.[7]

Ignorance.

NFP does not fit at all into the anti-life philosophy. Pro-abortion organizations like Planned Parenthood prefer to contemptuously and dishonestly dismiss this highly scientific method as "rhythm," even though they know better. This pervasive propaganda frightens women into believing that natural family planning is a backward and ineffective method of conception control.

It's a different story for the doctors. Despite their many years of education, they are appallingly ignorant about NFP, and there is really no excuse for this lack of knowledge. They are either too busy or too lazy to learn about NFP. Many doctors arrogantly believe that women are just too stupid to learn NFP.

Laziness.

NFP takes some time and effort to learn about twenty hours of study and charting. In this age of instant gratification and instant everything, the equation "FAST = GOOD" is an almost inviolable law. If any effort is required, the method is summarily disqualified. Most American women would rather take a long-term gamble on their health than put a short-term effort into learning about their own bodies. And, sadly, many or most men couldn't care less about which method of contraception their wives use, just so long as they aren't inconvenienced, and have access to her at all times.

As Erma Clardy Craven says, "Women are being seen as wombs to be deactivated rather than human beings with lives to be fulfilled."[8]

The Profit Motive.

The contraceptive manufacturers and most obstetricians would have the public believe that artificial birth control is the way to go. The manufacturers say this because they are making huge amounts of money off women who willingly and ignorantly drug their reproductive systems and the profits from the sale of these drugs amount to more than five billion dollars per year!

Would an intelligent person believe an American Tobacco Institute study concluding that smoking is good for you? Yet when many doctors are faced with a choice between an easy twenty bucks for a five-minute birth control pill prescription or teaching NFP for several hours for the same money, greed usually wins out.

Natural Family Planning Resources.

Couple to Couple League.

There are several national organizations that promote Natural Family Planning. The Couple to Couple League instructs in the most up-to-date methods in device- and chemical-free natural family planning. CCL also distributes information on Planned Parenthood, the hazards of unnatural birth control, chastity, parenting, and related medical news. The group has an extensive reading list of books and pamphlets.

Two of CCL's best pamphlets summarize the advantages of NFP and are suitable for distribution in schools, churches, or meetings of any kind. They are entitled "Good News About Natural Family Planning" and the more detailed "The Case for Natural Family Planning."

CCL is also always recruiting for NFP instructors and publicists. If you are interested in attacking abortion and the anti-life mentality at their roots, NFP teaching is the place to volunteer.

CCL's newsletter, published six times yearly, is available for a $15 annual donation. It provides detailed information from scientists on the latest NFP information. A list and order form may be obtained by writing to or calling the

Couple to Couple League
3621 Glenmore Avenue
Post Office Box 111184
Cincinnati, Ohio 45211-1184
Telephone: (513) 661-7612.

CCL also publishes the CCL Family Foundations, a bimonthly newsletter which covers the technical and 'how-to' aspects of natural family planning and information on teen sex clinics, chastity, and Planned Barrenhood. Subscriptions are available for a $15 donation. Write to CCL for subscription information.


References: Natural Family Planning.

[1] Mahatma Gandhi, quoted in Father A.S. Antonisamy. Wisdom for All Times: Mahatma Gandhi and Pope Paul VI on Birth Regulation. Family Life Service Centre, Archbishop's House, Pondicherry 605001 India. June 1978. Quotes are taken from D.G. Tendulkar (Editor). The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Volumes 2 and 4. Published by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India.

[2] Selig Newbardt, M.D., and Harold Schulman, M.D. Techniques of Abortion. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. 1977 (Second Edition), Page 123.

[3] St. Augustine, quoted in a letter from Jean Louise Crocco of Chicago, Illinois entitled "The Morals of the Manichees." Fidelity Magazine, February 1989, page 6.

[4] Pope John Paul II. "The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World (Familiaris Consortio), November 22, 1981, Section 32.

[5] Warren Hern. Abortion Practice. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1990, 340 pages. This is a standard in the field, an authoritative work by one who should know: Arch-abortionist Warren Hern. This book is frequently quoted in the malpractice trials of abortionists, and will be of great interest to pro-lifers who are interested in the mechanics and the effects of abortions of every type. This book has been used as the model for instituting and operating countless abortion clinics. Particularly interesting is the last chapter on community relations. Every serious pro-life activist should read this book in order to get a "feel" for the anti-life, pro-abortion mentality.

[6] Dr. Carl Djerassi, quoted in "Lawsuits, Feminists, and Right-to-Lifers Create "Birth Control Backlash." The Wanderer, January 24, 1991, page 8.

[7] Suzanne Cooper Doyle. "Fertility Awareness: Reclaiming Reproductive Control." WomenWise (publication of the New Hampshire Federation of Feminist Women's Health Centers), Summer 1991, pages 6 and 8.

[8] Erma Clardy Craven, quoted in ALL About Issues, July/August 1980, page 5.


Further Reading: Natural Family Planning.

Nona Aguilar. No-Pill, No-Risk Birth Control.
New York: Rawson, Wade Publishers, 1980. 235 pages; paperback, hardback. Reviewed by Edward F. Keefe in the Spring 1980 issue of the International Review of Natural Family Planning, pages 81 to 84, and by Rose Fuller on pages 177 to 179 of the Summer 1986 issue of the same publication. This book extols the virtues of natural family planning while explaining the "shocks" to the system of sterilization and the various methods of artificial contraception. A good 'theory' book.

Howard M. Bahr, Bruce A. Chadwick, and Darwin L. Thomas (editors). Population, Resources, and the Future: Non-Malthusian Perspectives.
Brigham Young University Press, Provo, Utah 84601. A general examination of the myths associated with overpopulation and big families. This book also examines some of the Draconian population control policies of the past, present, and those seriously proposed for the future.

Evelyn Billings, M.D., and Ann Westmore. The Billings Method: Controlling Fertility Without Drugs or Devices.
Richmond, Victoria, Australia: Anne O'Donovan Press, 1980. 255 pages. Reprinted by Random House, New York, in 1981. Reviewed and discussed in detail by Edward F. Keefe, M.D., in the Summer/Fall 1981 issue of the International Review of Natural Family Planning, pages 170 to 185.

John J. Billings, M.D. The Ovulation Method: Natural Family Planning (Fourth American Edition).
Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 1978. Order from: Life Issues Bookshelf, Sun Life, Thaxton, Virginia 24174. Telephone: (703) 586-4898. A set of instructions, charts, and stamps for those who would like to learn the Billings Ovulation Method of natural family planning. Reviewed and discussed by Edward F. Keefe on pages 171 to 180 of the Summer 1979 issue of the International Review of Natural Family Planning. A very detailed critique of the Billings Ovulation Method compared to the Sympto-Thermal Method.

Father James Tunstead Burtchaell and eight married people. Marriage Among Christians: A Curious Tradition.
Notre Dame, Indiana: Ave Maria Press. 1977. Reviewed by Mary R. Joyce in the Fall 1978 issue of the International Review of Natural Family Planning, pages 274 and 275. Essays on the essential nature of commitment in Christian marriage.

Child and Family.
This quarterly magazine is produced by the National Commission on Human Life, Reproduction, and Rhythm and is available from 244 South Wesley, Oak Park, Illinois.

Larry and Nordis Christenson. The Christian Couple.
Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, 1977. 185 pages. Reviewed by John G. Quesnell in the Winter 1977 issue of the International Review of Natural Family Planning>, pages 387 and 388. The authors of this book meet the difficult questions and problems of marriage, including artificial contraception, head-on.

Ciba Foundation Symposium 45 (new series). Breast Feeding and the Mother.
New York: Elsevier North-Holland, 1977. Reviewed by Edward F. Keefe, M.D. in the Winter 1978 issue of the International Review of Natural Family Planning, pages 357 to 360. A highly technical collection of symposium papers on breastfeeding that is strongly recommended for natural family planning teachers.

Couple to Couple League. "A Physician's Reference to Natural Family Planning."
This pamphlet explains the reproductive system in greater detail, including the hypothalamic-pituitary relationship, threshold levels of pre-ovulatory estrogen, and the relationship between the ovaries. This professionally-done pamphlet is available for 25 cents from the Couple to Couple League, Post Office Box 11084, Cincinnati, Ohio 45211. Telephone: (513) 661-7612.

Couple to Couple League.
12-page pamphlet for 25 cents entitled "What Does the Catholic Church Really Teach About Birth Control?" Order from the Couple to Couple League, Post Office Box 111184, Cincinnati, Ohio 45201.

Raymond Dennehy (editor). Christian Married Love.
Five excellent and incisive essays on the meaning of Humanae Vitae for Christian families, by Malcolm Muggeridge, Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar, Louis Bouyer, Jean Guitton, and Father Joseph Lestapis.

J.C. Espinoza, M.D. Birth Control: Why Are They Lying to Women?
Paperback. Order from: Life Issues Bookshelf, Sun Life, Thaxton, Virginia 24174, telephone: (703) 586-4898, or from Our Lady's Book Service, Nazareth Homestead, R.D. 1, Box 258, Constable, New York 12926, telephone: 1-800-263-8160. Reviewed by Eugene F. Diamond, M.D., on page 32 of the February 1983 ALL About Issues. The eugenicists, the birth-control profitmakers, and the Neomalthusians have concocted an effective and pervasive propaganda campaign against population. This propaganda is filled with lies, half-truths, and distortions. Dr. Espinoza's book exposes the health hazards of artificial contraception and shows that safe and effective natural family planning is really the only way to go from a practical standpoint. Also available in Spanish as El Control De La Natalidad: Porque Les Mienten A Las Mujeres?

Family Foundations.
This bimonthly newsletter is published by the Couple to Couple League (CCL). Main topics are the technical and 'how-to' aspects of natural family planning (NFP) and information on teen sex clinics, chastity, and Planned Barrenhood. Write to Couple to Couple League, PO Box 111184, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45211.

Thomas W. Hilgers, M.D. Reproductive Anatomy and Physiology for the Natural Family Planning Practitioner.
Creighton University Natural Family Planning Education and Research Center, 601 North 30th Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68131. 1981, 107 pages. Reviewed by John J. McCarthy, Jr., M.D., in the Fall 1983 issue of the International Review of Natural Family Planning, pages 272 and 273. This work fills a void for NFP instructors who have questions about human physiology and why the human reproductive system works the way it does.

International Review. Formerly the International Review of Natural Family Planning
This journal is similar in format and size to The Human Life Review. It contains essays on natural family planning and other pro-life issues, including euthanasia, infanticide, and United States 'contraceptive imperialism.' Some of the finest conservative minds of the past and present have contributed to this journal, including Mother Teresa of Calcutta and many United States Senators and Congressmen.

Derrick B. and E.F. Patrice Jelliffe. Human Milk in the Modern World: Psychosocial, Nutritional, and Economic Significance.
New York: Oxford University Press, 1978. 500 pages. Reviewed by Edward F. Keefe in the Winter 1980 issue of the International Review of Natural Family Planning, pages 360 to 363. An encouraging masterwork on the art of breastfeeding. This book should be in the library of every natural family planning teacher.

J.S. Jordan and A. Singer (editors). The Cervix.
Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 1977. 529 pages. Reviewed by Edward F. Keefe on page 296 of the Summer 1979 issue of the International Review of Natural Family Planning. This massive volume contains everything that a natural family planning teacher needs to know (and much, much more) about one of the three indicators of the Sympto-Thermal Method the condition of the cervix. This book may be used to answer any question on the cervix and may also be used to assist in self-diagnosis of various cervical diseases.

John F. Kippley. "Birth Control and Christian Discipleship."
1985, paperback, 36 pages, from the Couple to Couple League, Post Office Box 111184, Cincinnati, Ohio 45211-1184, or from Life Issues Bookshelf, Sun Life, Thaxton, Virginia 24174, telephone: (703) 586-4898. This superb booklet outlines the history of artificial contraception, its effects upon the body, the family and society in general, and the history of traditional Scriptural and Christian opposition to it (both Protestant and Catholic), until the collapse of the Church's resistance in the period 1930 to 1970.

John and Sheila Kippley. The Art of Natural Family Planning.
Order from Couple to Couple League, Post Office Box 111084, Cincinnati, Ohio 45211, or from Life Issues Bookshelf, Sun Life, Thaxton, Virginia 24174, telephone: (703) 586-4898. Paperback, 267 pages. The most comprehensive available 'nuts and bolts' guide to charting cycles, theology of NFP, and breast feeding. This book has it all, and is suitable even for physician-run NFP classes. CCL's starter packet includes the book, basal thermometer, a 20 page practical applications booklet for self-instruction, a set of 14 monthly cycle observation charts, and a year's subscription to the CCL newsletter.

Father Ronald Lawler, Joseph Boyle, Jr., and William E. May. Catholic Sexual Ethics: A Summary, Explanation, and Defense.
1985, 274 pages. Paperback. Order from: Life Issues Bookshelf, Sun Life, Thaxton, Virginia 24174, telephone: (703) 586-4898. Reviewed by Father Robert Barry, Ph.D. on pages 346 to 348 of the Winter 1985 issue of the International Review of Natural Family Planning. A very clearly written summary of Catholic Church teaching on sexual morality. Topics include the Bible and sex; formation of conscience; chastity, virginity, and Christian marriage; and Church teaching on sex.

John J. McCarthy, Jr. The Ovulation Method.
Human Life and Natural Family Planning Foundation, 1978. 55 pages. Reviewed and discussed by Edward F. Keefe on pages 180 to 183 of the Summer 1979 issue of the International Review of Natural Family Planning. A relatively uncertain and tentative introduction to the Ovulation Method of natural family planning.

Margaret Nofziger. A Cooperative Method of Natural Birth Control.
Tiebock Publishing Company, Summertown, Tennessee 38483. 1979, 114 pages. A lavishly-illustrated beginner's guide to the general concepts of natural family planning.

Pope John Paul II. Theology of the Body.
Daughters of St. Paul publishers. This set of four volumes is a serial catechesis which outlines in painstaking detail the basis of Catholic thought on the life-related subjects. Generally for those who want to really dig deep into the Church's answer to the contraception/abortion mentality.

Volume 1: Original Unity of Man and Woman. 184 pages.
Volume 2: Blessed Are the Pure in Heart. 305 pages.
Volume 3: Theology of Marriage and Celibacy.
374 pages.
Volume 4: Reflections on Humanae Vitae.
96 pages.

Father Paul J. Quay. The Christian Meaning of Human Sexuality.
115 pages. Order from Ignatius Press, 15 Oakland Avenue, Harrison, New York 10528, telephone: 1-800-528-0559. Using Scripture and the writings of distinguished (conservative) theologians, Father Quay explains the understanding of human sexuality that divine revelation offers us. This book is written for Christian adults who want to know what kinds of sexual behavior are right and wrong and who want to gain true insight into why such behavior is right or wrong.

Roman Catholic Church, Apostolic Letters and Encyclicals.
The Daughters of St. Paul publish numerous useful Catholic documents in pamphlet form, including the Canadian Bishops' "Statement on the Formation of Conscience," and the Vatican's "Instruction on Bioethics." Write to: Daughters of St. Paul, 50 St. Paul's Avenue, Jamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts, 02130. The Daughters of St. Paul have available the following apostolic letters and encyclicals, among others;

Humanae Vitae ("Of Human Life"), July 25, 1968, Pope Paul VI.
• "Educational Guidance in Human Love and Charter of the Rights of the
   Family" (Outlines for Catholic sex education), 62 pages.
• "On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering," 58 pages.

Roman Catholic Church, Vatican Pontifical Council for the Family. Marriage and Family: Doctrine and Life.
180 pages. Order from: Ignatius Press, 15 Oakland Avenue, Harrison, New York 10528, telephone: 1-800-528-0559. Proceedings of the third annual conference applying Catholic teaching to the problems of marriage and family life. Subjects covered include the road to salvation as a couple, the family's mission and place in God's plan, and the real difference between artificial contraception and natural family planning.

J.N. Santamaria, M.D. and John J. Billings, M.D. Human Love and Human Life: Papers on Humanae Vitae and the Ovulation Method of Natural Family Planning from the International Conference, University of Melbourne, 1978.
Melbourne, Australia: Polding Press, 1979. 274 pages; paper, hardback. Reviewed by Carman Fallace in the Fall 1980 issue of the International Review of Natural Family Planning, pages 271 to 274. Proceedings of the largest-ever conference on natural family planning, which covered nine full days.

Mary Shivanandan. Natural Sex.
New York: Rawson, Wade Publishers. 1979, 274 pages. Reviewed by Lester B. Anderman on pages 183 to 185 of the Summer 1979 issue of the International Review of Natural Family Planning. A rather muddled review of natural family planning that includes many inaccuracies. The theory and nontechnical basics of natural family planning are covered in this book, but not in enough detail to allow a couple to begin charting cycles.

Ingrid Trobisch and Elisabeth Roetzer. An Experience of Love: Understanding Natural Family Planning.
Fleming H. Revell, Publishers, Old Tappan, New Jersey, 1981. 160 pages. A lot of information of cycle charting, given in a question and answer format.

Vatican Pontifical Council for the Family. Marriage and Family: Doctrine and Life.
180 pages. Order from: Ignatius Press, 15 Oakland Avenue, Harrison, New York 10528, telephone: 1-800-528-0559. Proceedings of the third annual conference applying Catholic teaching to the problems of marriage and family life. Subjects covered include the road to salvation as a couple, the family's mission and place in God's plan, and the real difference between artificial contraception and natural family planning.

Rudolf F. Vollman, M.D. The Menstrual Cycle.
Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 1977. 193 pages Reviewed by Stephen P. Boyers and John R. Marshall in the Winter 1977 issue of the International Review of Natural Family Planning, pages 388 and 389. A compendium of information compiled from 31,645 menstrual cycles of 691 women.

Mercedes Arzu Wilson. The Ovulation Method of Birth Regulation: The Latest Advances for Achieving or Postponing Pregnancy Naturally.
New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1980. 201 pages, hardback; softback. Reviewed and discussed in detail by Edward F. Keefe, M.D., in the Summer/Fall 1981 issue of the International Review of Natural Family Planning, pages 170 to 185.

Father Anthony Zimmerman, Francois Guy, M.D., and Father Dionigi Tettamanzi (editors). Natural Family Planning: Nature's Way, God's Way.
Human Life Center, St. John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota 56321. Paperback. Order from: Life Issues Bookshelf, Sun Life, Thaxton, Virginia 24174. Telephone: (703) 586-4898. The body of this book consists of 53 short articles on NFP that show (1) that it works, (2) how it works, and (3) why it works. The book also includes the texts of the 16 ecclesiastical documents most pertinent to NFP, including Humanae Vitae. An excellent text for answering questions on the technical and moral aspects of natural family planning.


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This is a chapter of the Pro-Life Activist’s Encyclopedia published by American Life League.


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