BENEFITS of NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING
● No cost once learned
● No drugs or devices
● Greater knowledge for couple about body
● Beneficial for interpersonal communication
● Spiritual/Theological considerations:
“We have endeavored to show a link between artificial birth control, promiscuity and divorce. The NFP survey respondents:
have a dramatically low (0.2%) divorce rate;
are happier and more satisfied in their everyday lives;
share a deeper intimacy with their spouse; realize a deeper level of communication with their spouse;
attend Church more often;
and preserve the family unit more responsibly than the other groups.
We are thus beginning to be able to demonstrate what the Church has long asserted philosophically and morally: artificial birth control carries with it a substantial impact on the personalistic dimensions of the sexual union of spouses.”
Wilson, Mercedes Arzú. 2002. “The Practice of Natural Family Planning versus the Use of Artificial Birth Control: Family, Sexual, and Moral Issues.” Catholic Social Science Review 7: 185-211.
CHALLENGES in PROMOTING
NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING
2) SOCIAL CONTEXT in USA of PROMOTION verging on Genuine CELEBRATION of CONTRACEPTION
October 21, 2004
The Pill Is Good for You!
Today’s blockbuster health news is that, prior reports notwithstanding, birth control pills are quite beneficial for women’s health. They reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Earlier reports that the pill boosts women's risk of cancer were particularly influential among American women, depressing rates of pill use here compared with other industrial countries. With this definitive repudiation of those reports, more American women may opt to use the pill.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Use of birth control pill lowers risk of disease
Contrary to previous studies, findings cite benefits for women
By MARILYNN MARCHIONE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, PHILADELPHIA
-- The same huge federal study that led millions of women to abandon use of hormones after menopause now provides reassurance that another hormone concoction -- the birth control pill -- is safe.
In fact, women on the pill had surprisingly lower risks of heart disease and stroke and no increased risk of breast cancer, contrary to what many previous studies have found.
Doctors say the type of hormones and the stage of life when they're used may be what makes them helpful at one point and harmful at another.
[...] "We're still learning more and more about the biology," said one of the researchers, Dr. Michael Diamond of Wayne State University in Detroit.
The new findings are from nearly 162,000 participants in the Women's Health Initiative, the largest women's health study ever done and one of the biggest on oral contraceptives. Results were presented yesterday at an American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference.
3) WIDESPREAD PRACTICE of CONTRACEPTION
Many if not most of the laypersons involved in ministries and parish leadership probably use some form contraception.
4) Culture that equates SCEPTICISM TOWARDS AUTHORITY with WISDOM:
Presumes “Tradition” is an obstacle to be overcome – not a font of wisdom on which to draw;
Dismissive attitude towards Church Teaching concerning beginning of life and meaning of human fertility.
Scepticism verging on contempt for encyclical Humanae Vitae; strong tendency to hail it as “appropriate” rejection by the laity of magisterial “interference” in private lives of Catholics.
5) IGNORANCE Concerning existence of Different (effective) forms of NFP
6) DOUBT verging on cynicism (and disinformation) in regard to scientific reliability of method
From the Planned Parenthood Website
I am getting married and have been doing a lot of research on birth control. My church has introduced me to natural family planning — the Creighton model. I like everything about it, but my only hesitation is its effectiveness. I can’t seem to find any “negative” statistics on this method and all the websites seem biased. It is very important for me and my future husband that I do not become pregnant, and I am very wary about the effectiveness of NFP. What are your thoughts on this method?
Certainly, a high level of contraceptive effectiveness is critical for couples for whom it is very important to avoid unintended pregnancy. The most authoritative source we know for comparing the effectiveness of various methods of birth control is Contraceptive Technology, by Robert H. Hatcher et al., which is published by Ardent Media. The most recent edition became available in 2004. You can order it online or consult a copy in the reference section of your local library.
Contraceptive effectiveness is the rate of success of the use of a birth control method in the first year. It is calculated in two ways: typical use and perfect use. Typical use is the rate of effectiveness for couples who use a method incorrectly or inconsistently some of the time in the course of a year. Perfect use means that couples use a method correctly and consistently all the time over the course of a year. For example, of 100 women who rely on latex condoms for contraception, 15 will become pregnant in one year of typical use, but only two will become pregnant in one year of perfect use. So, for latex condoms, the typical-use effectiveness is 85 percent, while the perfect-use effectiveness is 98 percent. Sometimes we use the rates for typical and perfect use to express a range of effectiveness. In this example, the range for the condom would be 85-98 percent
Fertility awareness-based methods, which some people refer to as “natural family planning,” are not as effective as some other methods, especially with typical use. For example, the ovulation, or mucus method, on which the Billings and Creighton models are based, ranges from 78-95 percent effectiveness. The symptothermal method, which combines the mucus method with the basal body temperature method, ranges from 80-98 percent. The new Standard Days method, which uses a string of colored beads with a movable marker to track the days of a cycle, is 88-95 percent effective.
According to Contraceptive Technology, the most effective reversible contraceptives — those that are not meant to be permanent — are the IUD (intrauterine device) and the hormonal methods — the pill, the patch, the ring, and the shot. The effectiveness of the IUD ranges from 99.2-99.9 percent. The effectiveness of the pill, the patch, and the ring ranges from 92-99.7 percent. And the effectiveness of the shot ranges from 97-99.7 percent.
Effectiveness, however, is only one of the considerations a woman needs to think about to decide what option will work best for her. To decide which method to use, you may want to consider how each method will work in eight other ways as well:
o How well will it fit into your lifestyle?
o How convenient will it be?
o How safe will it be?
o How affordable will it be?
o How reversible will it be?
o Will it help prevent sexually transmitted infections?
o How important is it for you to prevent pregnancy?
o How long do you want to prevent pregnancy?
While any contraceptive is better than none, the choice of method makes a difference. And studies have shown that women who use the method they most prefer are more likely to prevent pregnancy because they are more likely to continue using their method.
Published: 05.18.06 | Updated: 10.02.07
7) PERIODIC ABSTINENCE CONDEMNED:
a) Presumed doomed to failure
b) Proclaimed “Unhealthy” (psychologically, physiologically, perhaps spiritually?)
8.1. By seldom if ever raising the issue in a social climate that overwhelmingly favors contraception.
Reasons may be charitable – genuine pastoral concern not to alienate persons presumed to be already at least somewhat alienated
If we say nothing, people will presume that nothing needs to be said.
8.2. By presuming that as celibates we have little or nothing to offer in an area of life as complex and delicate as sexuality within marriage.
8.3. Encouragement of Moral Relativism by presenting NFP as “one possible choice among many” (tacitly encouraging contraception as a morally-licit option)
8.4. By imagining that referral to a “Catholic Physician” means that the person we refer will necessary hear accurate information concerning NFP.
9. HOW TO
9.1) ENCOURAGEMENT, ENTHUSIASM, and CONVICTION CONCERNING NFP
Help people to at least consider the possibility that this is one way in which a whole new vision of Human Loving can be discovered and shared.
9.2. Awareness and Encouragement of Steps According to the “LAW of GRADUALNESS”
– see Catechism 2339-2343; Apprenticeship in self-mastery; laws of growth
Confessional as opportunity for new hope and new vision – SUPPORT ANY STEPS
9.3. ENCOURAGE STUDY and DISCOVERY of the THEOLOGY of the BODY
Help dispel the myth that the Catholic Church is “anti-body” or “anti-sex”. Even Peter Brown, The Body and Society, effectively refutes this charge.
9.4. SHARE PRACTICAL INFORMATION gathered at events such as this:
We WILL know of resources that can and should be made easily, readily, available:
1) In parish office;
2) In condensed form in “tract rack” or in confessional.
3) In office or wherever we commonly counsel persons.
9.5. PARTNERSHIP with NFP TEACHERS we trust and in whom we place confidence.
Meet them; encouage others to meet them;
Provide opportunities for them to present;
incorporate NFP into regular parish education and marriage preparation programs
9.6. RELENQUISH EMBARASSED SILENCE
Let go of the fear that this is an arena in which priests and other celibates have little or nothing to offer
We have a great deal to say about this.
This Webpage was created for a workshop held at Saint Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, California in 2003