An introduction to Natural Fertility Awareness
By Robert Colquhoun PRAYER: Thanks be to you, our Lord Jesus Christ For all the benefits which you have given us, For all the pains and insults which you have borne for us Most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother, May we know you more clearly, Love you more dearly, And followyou more nearly, Day by day. Amen. (St Richard of Chichester). Introduction Many people are willing to spend hundreds of hours in preparing for their own wedding day, but far less time actually preparing for their marriage. The aim of this booklet is to bring about the success of future marriages. Many people think that the Church is entirely negative about sex. The understood mentality is, “If it feels good, then definitely don’t do it.” Few people think that actually following the ten commandments is actually something that is going to bring them happiness. But God has placed his clues about human sexuality all around so that our joy might be complete. When we scrutinise this topic a little closer, there are incredible discoveries to be made. God’s plan for love and life is almost a well kept secret these days. Marriage can be highly romantic. Couples who pray together have a higher sexual satisfaction. God’s first commandment is the Bible is to have sex. In Genesis 1:28 we read: “Be fruitful and multiply.” The world does not want you to think about sex, only to dream, crave and slaver for it. God intended sex to be the marriage vows made flesh. It is possible to say your wedding vows with your body. These vows a promise to be free (holding nothing back), total (a true gift), faithful (exclusive and permanent) and fruitful (open to life). The world looks to thwart these promises, making sex restricted or forced, temporary, disloyal and sterile. The theology of the Church is not imposed on anyone, but it is the uncovering of God’s original design. When we realise how generous God has been with us that we have a lover, it is time to return the favour of generosity. After all, God can never be outdone in generosity. Preparation for marriage is not something that happens several months prior to the wedding. Now is the time to build a happy and successful foundation of marriage. The beauty of purity and clarity of mind is something that holds good stead for the rest of one’s life. Trust and self control are things especially needed when both close and far from your wife. Purity with practice is certainly a challenge. To be ready for the huge gift
of one’s spouse will not leave you empty handed at the Altar, but will help you to come with a gift to give to Jesus. Chastity is something caught not taught. Abstinence is the lack of sexual activity. In itself it is not a virtue, but simply abstaining from action. Some people might be abstinent because they have chosen to, others because they cannot get a date. It tells us little about the spiritual state of a person. Chastity on the other hand is a positive virtue, to be thought only in association with love. Chastity stems from the latin adjective ‘castus’ which means pure. Chastity is about living an integrated and well balanced life. It respects the fact that sex is sacred and a great gift from God. All Christians are called to chastity, whether married, single or celibate. This great virtue gives us purity in mind, heart and conscience and prepares our souls for love. Only the chaste man and the chaste woman are capable of true love. This virtue gives us self control, spiritual strength and is a certain path to happiness. Marriage is one the greatest images on earth of God’s love. St Paul states how this union is a mystery how two become one flesh. In the Catholic Church, there are two sacraments where a person becomes a sacrament. In the Eucharist, Christ becomes a sacrament. In marriage the will of two people make a sacrament. St Francis de Sales said that marriage is the greatest form of mortification on earth. But it can be something that will save us from ourselves. But God soaks couples with dollops of grace in order to live out marriage. If we are in a state of sin, we do not receive these graces in order to live out marriage. Erotic love poetry in the Bible: Song of songs There is one book in the Bible that St Thomas Aquinas asked to have read to him on his death bed. That books was the song of songs. One person described such writing as a book of erotic love poetry – those training to be rabbis in years past were not allowed to read the material in fear that it might offend their ears. The book starts with a yearning for an embrace: “O that you would kiss me with the kisses of your mouth!” (1:1). The writing oozes with scintillating analogies, similes and cravings as the author is ‘sick with love.’ (2:5). The imagery of love is vivid and alive as the writer proclaims: “My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag,” (2:9) and “Your hair is like a flock of goats, moving down the slopes of Gilead.” (4:1). The author’s heart is ravished (4:9) for the sake of his beloved, whom he also calls a sister and bride. The author lovingly describes his lover’s anatomy in a litany of praise, “Your neck is like an ivory tower, your rounded thighs are like jewels.” (7:4, 1). For those who are reluctant to read the Bible because they perceive it to be boring, this book is the perfect introduction! OXYTOCIN Powerful hormones are released in the brains of men and women that produce lasting bonds with their partner during sexual activity. The most influential hormones are oxytocin and vasopressin.
Oxytocin is a hormone that is released during childbirth and nursing that causes the mother to bond with her infant. It is also released during sexual activity and acts like an emotional superglue between partners (The Female Brain, 2006). Both men and women have oxytocin and release it during sexual activity. Women are more affected by Oxytocin and more by vasopressin. Vasopressin enables a man to bond with his partner and gives him a protective instinct toward his partner and children. This bonding effect of sex can be compared to duct taping a couple's arms together. If you can imagine ripping off that tape off, and then using that same tape to apply the tape to a new person's arm. With switching partners several times, skin and hair left on the tape reduces the adhesiveness of the tape and it does not stick as easily. The same is true of sex. Research shows that the ability to bond and produce oxytocin is damaged by the stress hormones at a break up. Just like the remains on the duct tape, previous sexual experiences damage the ability to bond correctly. Oxytocin levels can return to normal if sexual activity is stopped and time is given for physical and emotional healing. But what if that duct tape was never removed. the duct tape would begin to feel like a part of the arm and the adhesion would be strong. When a couple waits until marriage to have sex, oxytocin and vasopressin increase the biological bond between husband and wife. SAINT NONNUS AND SAINT PELAGIA Once upon a time 1500 hundred years ago, there was a Bishop called Nonnus. Despite the corruption of society all around him, he understood that God was all powerful and on whom all rested. God has designed life and therefore it was beautiful. One day Bishop Nonnus was walking down the road with another clergyman. A beautiful woman, probably a prostitute came walking towards them. The clergyman turned away his eyes in order not to lust after the woman. He then turned his eyes towards the Bishop and saw that he was tearful. He realised that Nonnus had not turned away his gaze, rather he had looked straight at the prostitute. He was somewhat ruffled and concerned, then he asked him, "Brother Bishop, why did you not turn away your eyes from this woman?" Nonnus replied, "What a tragedy it is that such beauty would be sold to the lusts of men." This took the clergyman by complete surprise and even the woman herself. Later the woman found Nonnus and due to his loving response, had a conversion to Christianity. She had an encounter of piercing love in Nonnus' simple, chaste look. This woman is now known as Saint Pelagia. ‘God’ and ‘Sex’ are the two most popular words that are searched on Google. In essence we are combining today the two most popular topics on the planet, learning and understanding what God’s plan is for romantic love: how to invite the author of life into our love life!
I have never been in a position of practicing natural family planning (NFP). Personal experience is not a requirement for expertise. I hope to be able to provide some valuable insights into the theory and practice of NFP today. The topic of human sexuality is of immense importance and interest to many people. Despite this, there is a great degree of ignorance on the issue. This is partly due to poor teaching and misinformation over many decades. But we’re here to set the record straight here today, and not only that- if everyone told 25 people about the simple facts about natural family planning then the truth and meaning of human sexuality would be proclaimed and lived by many more people in society. That’s my challenge for you today! Natural family planning is one of the hidden gems of the Church. It has the ability to educate, empower and enhance marriage and family life. That is why couples that use contraception in their marriage typically have a divorce rate of 40%, while couples from all denominations who use NFP have a divorce rate of 2%.(1) There is a wonderful story in the book of Tobit. Tobias prays that he may have nobility in his marriage because it is based on stable foundations. This is a wondrous bedtime prayer. ”When the girl's parents left the bedroom and closed the door behind them, Tobias arose from bed and said to his wife, "My love, get up. Let us pray and beg our Lord to have mercy on us and to grant us deliverance." She got up, and they started to pray and beg that deliverance might be theirs. He began with these words: "Blessed are you, O God of our fathers; praised be your name forever and ever. Let the heavens and all your creation praise you forever. You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve to be his help and support; and from these two the human race descended. You said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone; let us make him a partner like himself.' Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine not because of lust, but for a noble purpose. Call down your mercy on me and on her, and allow us to live together to a happy old age." They said together, "Amen, amen," (Tobit 8:4-9, NAB). What is natural family planning? This talk not supposed to be a full guide of how to use NFP, but an introduction. If you wish to find out more, I thoroughly recommend you to book a relatively inexpensive arrangement with an NFP practitioner. NFP is a method of family planning that is highly reliable, medically safe and inexpensive. The understanding of how the body works is a great act of self discovery. NFP understands fertility as not something to be suppressed or manipulated, but as a normal bodily function. NFP encourages a shared responsibility for fertility between
1 What’s Wrong with Contraception? (Cincinnati, Ohio: The Couple to Couple League International); Mercedes Arzú Wilson, “The Practice of Natural Family Planning Versus the Use of Artificial Birth Control: Family, Sexual, and Moral Issues,” Catholic Social Science Review 7 (November 2002).
husband and wife. This normally leads to a deeper level of care and respect in a relationship. NFP promotes love, respect and communication between husband and wife and prepares them for further children. NFP respects the design of the human body, leads to deeper intimacy and encourages self respect and self worth. In the words of Paul VI, NFP, “favours attention for one’s partner, helps both parties to drive out selfishness, the enemy of true love, and deepens their sense of responsibility.” (Humanae Vitae, n.21). NFP couples are less likely to divorce, be more receptive to children and they renew their wedding vows each time they practice the marital act. Most strikingly of all, NFP is more effective than any method of contraception at preventing pregnancy, and is equally as effective as IVF in achieving pregnancy. Natural Family Planning involves the woman checking her fertility by observing simple signs such as changes in cervical mucus and temperature on waking. As a woman can only conceive for a short time each month, the knowledge of when this phase happens enables the couple to avoid or achieve pregnancy. The decision not to use contraception can only be good for the couple who make it. Respect for the meaning and purpose of marital sex in God’s plan is usually lavishly rewarded. Couples that use contraception find it harder when they have ‘surprise’ pregnancies. As they have actively tried to stop sex causing conception, they find it harder to welcome unconditionally the child that has been conceived. Different Methods of NFP Two different models of NFP are the ovulation method and symptothermal methods. Ovulation methods: This method is based on the observation and sensation of cervical mucus, which becomes clear, wet and stretchy when the woman reaches ovulation. This is the best indicator of fertility. The Billings method is an example. The Fertilitycare (Creighton) method is based on the Billings method. A woman records her observations on a chart, and is taught patterns that show the fertile and infertile times in her cycle. Symptothermal methods involve the woman taking her temperature every day, as well as observing cervical mucus and charting her cycle. Instructors of this method may advise observing other changes in the cervix. There are some new technologies available for checking fertility. These include ladycomp, bioself, safe and persona. These are helpful and vary in success rates. The Creighton (FertilityCare) Model of NFP The Creighton model is one of the best models of natural fertility management. This model relies on biological indicators that are signs of human fertility. The model helps couples to sees precisely on what days it is possible to become pregnant during a woman’s cycle. This knowledge enhances the ability to achieve or avoid pregnancy. This
model is 99.5% effective for avoiding pregnancy (2). This makes it the most effective method of avoiding pregnancy, more than the contraceptive bill and barrier methods. When used to achieve pregnancy, the model is 76% effective in the first cycle and 98% within 6 months. The model is the most effective way to pinpoint ovulation. The model can help couples to discover alternative ways of intimacy other than genital intercourse. Many couples have mentioned a sort of honeymoon effect after short periods of abstinence. Fertility becomes a shared responsibility between men and women and this facilitates deeper communication between couples. This leads to a deeper level of care and respect between couples and a strengthening of their relationship. There are several markers in the Creighton model that help to show the depth of risk of infertility or miscarriage. Early treatment is the best option for combating infertility. The method teaches couples how to care for their fertility, helping them detect and prevent gynaecological problems. Overall the Creighton model is highly reliable, medically safe, inexpensive and versatile. It helps couples to appreciate and value the mystery of fertility and self knowledge. Many people are coming to realise the significance of protecting and preserving one’s fertility. It has been reported that around one in six couples have infertility problems in the UK. As there are no harmful side effects of NFP from any synthetic hormones, normal fertility is permitted in the way it was designed. A familiarity with the natural rhythms of your body helps to generate self respect and self worth. As the Creighton model requires no medical intervention or monitoring, couples themselves learn how to become their own fertility experts. The model is inexpensive to learn about and certainly substantially cheaper than forms of contraception. As a method of family planning it is not a method of contraception. It is truly astonishing that this model is not well known about in most households in the country. Many doctors are completely unaware of the model. This is most likely due to the lack of financial incentives in promoting the model and the large profits made by other forms of contraception. The government should do more to promote this model in order to help couples with fertility problems and because it is without doubt the best method of achieving and avoiding pregnancy. With this in mind, who would want to use methods that create further complications? The Creighton model has no side effects whatsoever. By bother damaging your body and fertility when the natural processes are the best and most effective? The Creighton model can be adapted to every woman. It is able to be used whether a woman has regular, irregular or annovulatory cycles, is pre-menopausal, post pill or breastfeeding. This model can be used for any situation during the reproductive life of a woman. Women are empowered because they learn so much about their fertility. This model is founded upon genuine scientific research. The method is easy to use. Biological markers are observed and tracked. The Creighton model can be combined with Naprotechnology, a new reproductive science in order to monitor and treat infertility,
2 Creighton Model NaProEducation Technology for avoiding pregnancy: use effectiveness; J Reprod Med 1998; 43: 495-502
miscarriage, irregular cycles, hormone problems, pre-menstrual syndrome, ovarian cysts, unusual bleeding patterns and heavy painful periods. Now it is time to give a fuller account of the birds and the bees. At school, they probably taught you about sparrows and worker bees. But today, I’m going to tell you about the giant golden eagle and the Queen bee! NFP is valuable as couples learn the basics of anatomy and physiology. Men who are virile are constantly fertile as they produce sperm every day. The head of the sperm has the genetic material and the tail propels the sperm to try to reach the egg. As sperm are sensitive to heat, male genitalia are located on the outside of the body to help with better temperature regulation. Women on the other hand, are infertile for most of the month. There is only a limited time in an entire month when women are fertile. Despite this, many women resort to all types of hormones, devices and barriers for the entire month! The main female reproductive organs are the uterus, tubes and ovaries. The uterus is a thick muscle with a uterine cavity inside. The hormones, which regulate the menstrual cycle, are produced in the ovaries. The two fallopian tubes must be open in order for the egg or embryo to pass through. The cervix is at the bottom of the uterus, just above the vagina. This critical organ is where cervical mucus is produced. This is the main sign of a woman’s fertility and must be present for pregnancy to occur. Cervical mucus is similar to nasal mucus. Most women do not have a textbook cycle of 28 days, with ovulation happening on day 14 of each cycle. Only approximately 13% of women actually ovulate on day 14 of the cycle. Cycles are usually short (less than 23 days), regular (23-38 days) or long (more than 38 days). The phases are the same in every phase. The pre-ovulation phase is when the woman has her menstrual bleed for 3-7 days. This is followed by dry infertile days. After this, a woman has a number of mucus days (these are fertile) leading up to ovulation. Once ovulation has occurred, there is a sudden change in mucus production and the rest of the cycle is usually dry and infertile. The pre-peak phase can vary in length, but the post peak phase is usually stable and last about 13 or 14 days. The ovulation cycle also happens every month in the ovaries. At the start of the cycle, an egg is selected to grow and develop within a follicle and the hormone oestrogen is produced. The follicle matures until it is ready for the egg to be released at the day of ovulation. Afterwards, the follicle collapses as it is empty. It then begins to produce the hormone progesterone. Ovulation happens on only one day each cycle. If there are multiple ovulations (for example, for non identical twins), these occur in the same 24 hour time period. It is possible to check the day of ovulation by observing changes in the mucus pattern. The ovulation day (or peak day) is the last day of any mucus that is stretchy (one inch or more), clear in colour or lubricative (a sensation felt when wiping). An observational routine and recording system can be taught to women in order to help them accurately observe throughout the month and pinpoint the day of ovulation. After ovulation, the egg only survives between 12-24 hours if it is not fertilized. Cervical mucus keeps sperm alive and acts like a carrier for the sperm to pass through the cervix
and helps to separate out abnormal sperm. Mucus is essential for wholesome fertility. Good mucus influences how long sperm will last: with it sperm can live for 3-5 days, without it, the sperm will die within hours. The cervix works is like a biological valve. For most of the month, there is a thick plug like mucus high in the cervix, but no mucus visible at the opening of the vagina. During ovulation time, the cervix opens up and there is a fertile mucus that exists in the cervix that is visible at the opening of the vagina. The visible mucus indicates fertile days. Fertility is dependant on 3 factors- good sperm, good eggs and good mucus. FertilityCare practitioners can instruct couples how to chart patterns. If abnormal charting patterns exist, practitioners can use Naprotechnology medical doctors to address and treat problems (such as infertility or reproductive issues). Because early ovulation can occur as a woman nears the menopause, a woman can get pregnant during her period. Women who are charting can detect this because they see the mucus much earlier in the cycle than they normally would. Late ovulation can occur when a woman has acute stress during the mucus build up. If couples want to avoid pregnancy, instructions are given on about using the many dry infertile days in the cycle. If couples desire to achieve pregnancy, they focus intercourse during the fertile mucus days. So this approach can be used very effectively to avoid, identify and monitor fertility. If used to avoid pregnancy, the Creighton Model is 99.5% effective. This is more effective than both the pill and condoms. (3) If used to achieve pregnancy, effectiveness is 76% for the first attempted cycle, and 98% for 6 attempted cycles. (4) This information is empowering for couples as they know whether they are fertile or infertile on any given day. Professional instruction is essential for a proper use of the method. This model, through its educative and insightful methods, enables couples to begin to appreciate their fertility and the children that may result from its use. It also enables women and couples to be active participants in monitoring, preserving and protecting their fertility and reproductive health for the future. Comparing NFP with Contraception. The oral contraceptive pill is a chemical that interferes with normal healthy fertility. Janet Smith mentions in her CD, ‘Contraception, Why not?’ the history of research into contraception. It was discovered that an early contraceptive prototype for men physically shrunk the testes. These tests were stopped immediately. Some tests were performed on women with some forms of the pill. Several women died in the process, so they just lowered the dosage and put the drug on the mass market.
3 Journal of Reproductive Medicine, 1998. Effectiveness of Family Planning System, Contraceptive Failure Rates: Family Planning Perspectives. 1999. 4 For couples with normal fertility. Hilgers TW, Daly KD, Prebil AM, and Hilgers SK. Cummulative Pregnancy Rates in Patients with Apparently Normal Fertility and Fertility-Focussed Intercourse J. Reprod. Med. 37:864, 1992
Calling things what they actually are The pill tricks the female body into thinking that it is pregnant. This is a form of lying with the body. Its aim is to alter and change the female menstrual cycle. One woman recently said that if she knew that it would take 5 years for her cycle to return to normal after using the pill, she would never have taken it in the first place. Confucius said, “If words lose meaning society will lose itself.” If you buy contraceptives from the pharmacy, often the receipt will not state exactly what you are purchasing, rather a euphemism is used. When an X rated “adult” film is paid for in a hotel, it is not normally shown on the receipt so that you company does not fire you for misuse of expenses. Non Government Organisations campaign for the promotion of contraception and abortion under the agenda and pseudo language of reproductive rights and services. There is no such thing as an ‘unwanted’ pregnancy. A pregnancy is wanted in the language of the body in the act of sexual intercourse, as there is always a possibility of conception. When things can’t be called what they actually are, we can lose touch with reality and can know something is fishy. Nicole Parker, a fertilitycare practioner says, “When a woman chemically withholds her fertility in the act of love-making, she psychologically and spiritually makes the act sterile. Since her fertility is part of the essence of what makes her female, she is withholding an integral part of her femininity.” It is normal principle of surgery never to disturb he function of a normal structure except as may be necessary for the effective treatment of a related disorder. The Holy See’s charter of the rights of the family in 1983 reiterated the right for families to decide on the spacing of births and the number of children to be born. This right is seen in light of the objective moral order that excludes recourse to sterilization, contraception or abortion. Planned parenthood and the Holy See agree that on the right of families to decide on the number of children and the spacing of births. So why is there such divergence on the practice of family planning between these two institutions? The answer lies not only in objective morality but the use of the method of family planning. Contraception causes a division between the main purposes of sex, which is babies and bonding. Such a rupture damages the integrity of the union of two persons and leaves one open to use rather than love your partner. Rather than giving oneself fully, contraception is a lie with the human body, causing a step back from the total gift of self and the intimacy of the marital act (sex). Contraception damages the intimacy between husband and wife, invites selfish behaviour into the marital act and opens the door to greater infidelity. Christopher West writes that the real problem behind women’s oppression is the failure of men to treat them properly and therefore contraception is a sure way to keep women in chains. If a women is constantly sexually available, for many men, she becomes less attractive. At a pre-wedding party, a book was laid out for the guests to write down their thoughts on marriage. Typical to our age, the majority of comments were negative. One guest had
written that marriage is, “Institutionalized prostitution.” Saint Augustine, in his work against the Manichees (who denied procreation), he said they made the “Bridal chamber a brothel.”(5) Perhaps this is what can happen when chastity within marriage is totally ignored. The Church’s teaching on contraception is greatly misunderstood. This is partly due to the subtle and profound nature of the teaching. Cherie Blair recently praised contraception. She said, “Personally, I would prefer it if the Catholic Church took a more positive attitude towards contraception because I think there’s a lot of difference between preventing a life coming about and actually extinguishing a life when it has come about.” It is really necessary to point out that some contraceptives are also abortifacients. Contraception is not deemed immoral because it is artificial. After all, the Church approves of many artificial drugs and inventions that man has invented. There has been no papal pronouncements against the use of paracetamol or vitamin tablets. Contraception prevents the natural functioning of the body and denies the purpose God designed the act to have. No method of contraception is 100% effective to date. Contraception interrupts, sterilizes and works against conception whereas NFP respects the body as God designed it and works with this plan. The saints, including early Church fathers were opposed to contraception. St John Chrysostom regarded marriage as for “companionship and procreation.”(6) St Jerome said a marital act was lustful unless open for the possibility of procreation.7 St Augustine said “What food is to the health of man, intercourse is to the health of the race”8 and “the procreation of children is the first and natural and lawful reason for marriage”9 St Albert said that “Every act frustrated in it is essential and natural end is vain and evil.10 St Francis de Sales saw procreation as the “primary and principal end of marriage.”11 At a Catholic marriage, couples make a vow before God and the witnesses that they will welcome children lovingly from God, and they give themselves completely to their spouse. Contraception contradicts these vows because the language of the body is not living these vows in the flesh. Couples that withhold their fertility from each other, leave sterile acts that have negative influences on marriage. In the book of Acts (chapter 5:111), Ananias and Saphira go through the motions of a giving act but defraud it of its meaning. Contraception is not considered wrong by the Church because it is artificial. There is nothing morally wrong with paracetamol or vitamin tablets. The purpose of medicine is to help the body work in its proper functions. Contraception does not help the body to function properly – in fact it does precisely the opposite. Some forms of contraception are
5 Against Faustus, 15.7 CSEL 25:430. 6 Homily 5 on 1 Thess, PG 62:426. 7 On Galatians, 5, PL 26:443. 8 Augustine, The good of marriage 16.18, CSEL 41: 210-211. 9 Adulterous marriages 2.12.12 CSEL 41:396. 10 On the sentences 4.31.27 obj. 3. 11 Introduction to the devout life, chapter 39.
also abortifacients. This means that they cause early induced abortions at the beginning of a pregnancy. The God given purposes of sex is babies and bonding. Contraception divides the purposes in two. At a Catholic marriage, couples make a vow before God and the witnesses that they will welcome children lovingly from God, and they give themselves completely to their spouse. Contraception contradicts these vows because the language of the body is not living these vows in the flesh. Couples who withhold their fertility from each other leave a negative mark on the marriage. To use an analogy, contraception is like bulimia whereas NFP is like dieting. Contraception binges on the act and then purges out the effects. NFP abstains at certain times to avoid the outcome and is far healthier. The end never justifies the means. Using NFP does not mean you have to have 25 children. Many, including gynaecologists, still think that NFP is only the rhythm method. This method was not successful at preventing pregnancy. Some truths about contraception. Modern thinking tells us that the use of contraceptives is good and responsible. We are responsible when we have less children, because they are an environmental liability and who wants lots of kids anyway- only to be burdened with bills and nappies. 2.4 children is just fine. And after all, doesn’t contraception lower the abortion rate? So, conventional secular wisdom states that contraception is safe, ethical and responsible. Here are some facts about contraception that often overlooked: • A Some contraceptives are abortifacients. • B The pill is damaging to the body • C Contraception is far less reliable than we thought. • D The pill damages the environment A The pill has mechanisms that can cause a woman to have an abortion before she even knows that she has conceived. Because one of the ways the pill acts is by the thinning of the uterus. Some doctors do no believe pregnancy begins at fertilization. This has clouded the issue. Randy Alcorn has written a booklet entitled: Does the birth control pill cause abortions. This is an excellent read. B Let us consider how ‘safe’ the oral contraceptive pill is. The pill affects the blood clotting ability of the body, leading to a significant increase in risk of heart disease.12 Women on the pill are up to five times more likely to have a stroke than non pill users and three times more likely to have a heart attack.(13)
12 Bruce Stadel “Oral Contraceptives and the occurrence of disease” in Contraceptive Steroids: Pharmacology and Safety, ed A.T. Gregoire and Richard Blye (NY and London: Plenum Press, 1986, p145).
13 (Maureen Gardner, Facts about oral contraceptives, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 1984, p8, p12).
According to PDRhealth.com, the side effects are “Depression, loss of menstrual periods, migraine, nausea, vomiting, water retention, weight gain, yeast infection…. Chest pain, coughing up blood, or shortness of breath (indicating a possible blood clot in the lung)… Crushing chest pain or heaviness (indicating a possible heart attack)… Sudden partial or complete loss of vision (indicating a possible blood clot in the eye); Breast lumps (indicating possible breast cancer or fibrocystic breast disease); Severe pain or tenderness in the stomach (indicating a possible liver tumor)….” The pill increases the risk of cancer in women of childbearing age. When taking hormonal contraceptives, “teenagers are especially vulnerable to breast cancer risk because their breasts are growing,” says the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute. According to the Medical Association and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain(14), some versions of the pill increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis by 5 times, as reported by the British The pill doubles the risk of having a stroke and increases slightly the risk of cervical cancer. The birth control pill increases a woman’s chance of having breast cancer, cervical cancer and liver cancer. Twenty one of twenty three studies of women who took the pill before their first child showed increased risk of breast cancer. Birth control pills meddle with a woman’s immune system, making her more likely to contract certain STDs. The pill can cause more than 150 biological changes in a woman according to the textbook of contraceptive practice. This can include gallbladder disease, headache, bleeding irregularities, ectopic pregnancy, yeast infection, changes to the curvature of the eye, excessive hair growth in unusual places, acne, and partial or complete loss of vision. (15) There are many effects of the pill that are yet to be fully understood in the way they damage and upset the delicate yet beautiful aspects of womanhood. Hormonal contraceptives are not medication but steroids intended to disrupt a normal, functioning reproductive system. The World Health Organization recognizes estrogen in combined oral contraceptive pills (COCs) as carcinogenic. Women who took COCs before age 20 increased their risk of dying from breast cancer by 820%. Norplants (rods implanted under the skin) fell from grace when the side effects – depression, excessive bleeding, weight gain and strokes – became known. The intrauterine device had been linked to pelvic inflammatory disease and might interfere with implantation, causing early abortions. The progestins in all forms of hormonal contraception, taken daily or long term, cause changes in the uterine lining, including “atrophy.” The popular Ortho Evra patch has been linked to 23 deaths of healthy young women from fatal blood clots, heart attacks and strokes. I could go on, and on, and on and ariston.
14 Guardian 6th March 2009. 15 Contem. Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 1988; 19: 315-26.
There’s one group of people who definitely do not want women to find out about the extent of damage that the pill does to a woman’s body and fertility. Given one pill called Ortho Tri-Cyclen recorded $715 million in sales in 2003, it is patently obvious that the pharmaceutical industry does not want the public to know how dangerous the pill is. After all, it would dent their profits! RESEARCH SHOWS HOW PILL AGES CERVIX Research by Professor Erik Odeblad shows that the pill ages a woman's cervix twice as quickly. In other words, a 24-year-old woman who has been on the Pill since she was 12 (as is not uncommon) and is now married and wants to have children may be shocked to find that she has the cervix of a 36-year-old woman! Prof. Erik Odeblad is Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Medical Biophysics, University of Umeå, Sweden, and he has done a lot of research (16) into the cervix and he has described the progressive aging of the cervix, ascending squamous metaplasia with diminution of crypt bearing areas, with use of the oral contraceptive pill. Professor Erik Odeblad said: "Complications arising from the use of the Pill are very frequent. Infertility after its use for 7-15 years is a very serious problem. S crypts are very sensitive to normal and cyclical stimulation by natural oestrogens, and the Pill causes atrophy of these crypts. Fertility is impaired since the movement of sperm cells up the canal is reduced. Treatment is difficult." He also wrote: "After 3 to 15 months of contraceptive pill use, there is a greater loss of the S crypt cells than can be replaced ... A pregnancy rejuvenates the cervix by 2-3 years, but for each year the Pill is taken, the cervix ages by an extra year." Science points towards the beauty of faith. There are medical signs of the beauty of God’s plan. This is perhaps some of the most compelling evidence I have ever seen for the clear beauty of the Church’s teaching on sexual ethics. The British Medical Journal (17) reported on the efficacy of Natural Family Planning. According to the World Health Organisation, 93% of women everywhere can identify with the symptoms of NFP, which distinguish between the fertile and the infertile stages of the menstrual cycle. Pregnancy rates depend on the motivation of couples. A study of 19,843 poor women in Indai had a pregnancy rate approaching zero. NFP is cheap, effective and without side effects. (BMJ 1993;307:723-726 (18 September), "Natural family planning": effective birth control supported by the Catholic Church). Condom use is also linked to risk of Preeclampsia. Women who are not exposed to a partner’s sperm prior to pregnancy because the couple used condoms risk this problem. When the uterus is repeatedly exposed to sperm, a woman’s immune system gets used to this “foreign” genetic material. Women can have an immune reaction if they do not have prior exposure.
16 http://www.billings-ovulation-method.org.au/act/cervix/ageing.shtml 17 http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/307/6906/723
Preeclampsia affects about 7% of pregnant women. Women who used barrier methods who had been having sex with their partners for less than 4 months prior to getting pregnant had a 6.5 fold increased risk of getting preeclampsia (18), compared with those who did not use barrier methods and who had been in a sexual relationship for more than 12 months. Jesus said in the Gospel that in marriage the two become on flesh (Mark 10:6-9). Hormones from the man can be detected in a woman’s blood stream within hours of intercourse (Archives of sexual behaviour, Volume 31, Number 3, pp 289-293, by G.G. Gallup Jr: R.L. Burch; S.M. Patek). According to Reuters in London (2002),(19) hormones in semen have been shown to make women feel good. Women whose partners don’t use condoms are less likely to feel down. Hormones in semen may help to ease female depression. Scientists at the State University of New York suspect that the mood altering hormones are absorbed through the vagina and make women feel good. Sperm is good for a woman’s body. This is another argument against the use of condoms and cervical caps. Man’s seminal fluid has at least two dozen ingredients, such as estrogens, follicle stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, testosterone, transforming growth beta-factor, and several different prostaglandins. During intercourse, the woman's body absorbs these. Researchers have shown how they help the health of the woman, help mature her uterus and even protect the mammary gland from cancer. A woman’s body becomes used to the man’s sperm. A man’s semen offers protection against preeclampsia. This is the third leading cause of woman dying during childbirth. The journal of the American medical association is more than twice as common in women who use barrier methods of contraception. C The Guttmacher Institute (research arm of planned parenthood) which states no correlation between better access to contraception and lower abortion rates. The British medical journal showed in 10 studies worldwide that widespread availability of contraception and abortion made no appreciable difference to pregnancy or abortion rates.20 Even Alfred Kinsey, a lynchpin of the sexual revolution, realised that “At the risk of sounding repetitious, I would remind the group that we have found the highest frequency of induced abortion in the group which, in general, most frequently used contraceptives.”21 Last year, there was a 17.4% pregnancy rate for condom users over a 12 month period. But that includes pregnancies for women in their late 30s and 40s- teenagers are another story. 23.2% who rely on condoms will become pregnant in a year.
18 http://www.medkb.com/Uwe/Forum.aspx/aids/2598/Condom-Use-Linked-to-Risk-of-Preeclampsia 19 http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/706504/posts 20 A Glasier, ‘Emergency Contraception’, BMJ, 333:560–561. 21 Mary S. Calderone, ed. Abortion in the United States: A conference sponsored by the PPFa and the New York Academy of Medicine, Arden House (New York, Harper and Row, 1958), p157.
Condom failure rates for STDs are worse. An article in the journal of sexually transmitted diseases by Fitch and al. said that none of the studies they showed any STD risk reduction for condom users, not even for those who always used condoms. D The Environmental Lobby The contraceptive pill is a major cause of male infertility in the West and is also polluting the environment. According to a recent document by the international federation of Catholic Doctors, “an essential issue that is becoming increasingly urgent is the presence of hormones in drinking water, mainly caused by the pill. We have to take notice of the fact that over the last fifty years spermatozoa levels in men have dropped by 50%.The pill also causes metabolic changes, psychiatric disturbances and disturbances in sexual behaviour. The possibility of malformations in children during or after use of the pill should also be taken into consideration.”(22) According to Pedro Jose Maria Simon Castellvi, President of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, the Pill "has for some years had devastating effects on the environment by releasing tonnes of hormones into nature through female urine". The environment lobby has yet to fully realise the damage that Oral contraceptives may be doing to our ecosystem. Many still subscribe to the anachronistic message that humans are bad for the planet. The macabre myth of overpopulation has very clearly been discredited, in fact, many Western nations are rapidly making the transition to a predominantly elderly population. The unintended consequences of synthetic, anabolic, carcinogenic, nonbiodegradable sex steroids drugs are still being studied (A.K.A. the pill, oral contraceptives or hormones). It surely can’t be too difficult to convince some environmentalists of the beauty and benefits of natural family planning. It’s natural and in harmony with your body and soul, after all. Pope Benedict has called for a human ecology, meant in the right way. But First, we might need to remind them about the myth of overpopulation. Overpopulation The overpopulation myth has been around for quite a long time. It has never been true. Malthus recommended killing the poor to save resources for the rich. He blamed medical advances for causing a surplus of humanity. Malthus said, "All the children born, beyond what would be required to keep up the population to this level, must necessarily perish, unless room be made for them by the deaths of grown persons. . . To act consistently therefore, we should facilitate, instead of foolishly and vainly endeavouring to impede, the operations of nature in producing this mortality; and if we dread the too frequent visitation of the horrid form of famine, we should sedulously encourage the other forms of destruction, which we compel nature to use. Instead of recommending cleanliness to the poor, we should encourage contrary
habits. In our towns we should make the streets narrower, crowd more people into the houses, and court the return of the plague. In the country, we should build our villages near stagnant pools, and particularly encourage settlements in all marshy and unwholesome situations.”(23) Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University wrote the population bomb in 1968, perpetuating the myth that human reproduction has doomed us all. Ehrlich predicted famines the decade after publication of his book: "The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s the world will undergo famines— hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now."(24) The United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) receives hundreds of millions of dollars every year to reduce the number of people in developing nations. Jacqueline Kasun in her book, The war against population, successfully debunks the population myth with considerable style. She shows the economics and ideology of population control that has been generated. Mark Steyn has argued, once populations lose the primal instinct to reproduce, they also lose the will to defend themselves, create wealth and generally improve society. The biologist Francis P. Felice has shown that all the people in the world could be put into the state of Texas, forming one giant city with a population density less than that of many existing cities, and leaving the rest of the world empty. Each man, woman and child in the 1984 world population could be given more than 1,500 square feet of land space in such a city (the average home in the US ranges between 1400 and 1800 square feet). If one third of the space of this city were devoted to parks and one third to industry, each family could still occupy a single story dwelling of average U.S. size. In a similar vein, R.L. Sassone has calculated that there would be standing room for the entire population of the world within one quarter of the area of Jacksonville, Florida. (25) So if overpopulation is not happening, then what about the scourge of AIDS, surely we need contraception in order to combat that deadly disease? Why doesn’t the Catholic Church help with this issue? AIDS, Condoms and the Catholic Church Pope Benedict has recently been quoted, talking about the HIV/AIDS issue onboard the plane travelling on his apostolic visit to Cameroon. He said that, “The problem of HIV/AIDS cannot be overcome with mere slogans. If the soul is lacking, if Africans do
23 Malthus, Book IV, Chap. V – Essay on the Principle of Population. 24 Paul R Ehrlich, The Population Bomb (New York: Ballantine Books, 1968). 25 Kasun, War against population, p38.
not help one another, the scourge cannot be resolved by distributing condoms; quite the contrary, we risk worsening the problem.” He suggested that the humanisation of sexuality and true friendship would help bring solutions and help to those who suffer. Jon Snow claimed on channel 4 news (UK) that the Pope by this policy had “condemned many Africans to death.” This assertion is total nonsense. The Catholic Church provides 25% of the total care given to HIV/AIDS victims, placing itself among the leading advocates in the field. The effectiveness of typical condom use is around 80%. If someone had a gun pointed at your head in a game of Russian roulette and said that if one of the bullets was real you would have a 20% chance of exposing yourself to serious injury, would you still want to play? Condoms do not provide total protection against this deadly disease. In fact, they lull many into a false sense of security. There is considerable risk of slippage or breakage with condom use. HIV/AIDS dramatically reverses the role of sex as an activity that brings the gift of life to one that ends up killing you. When sex is understood and lived as a gift between a man and woman in an exclusive, fully committed relationship the probably of contracting HIV/AIDS declines dramatically. Promoting monogamy and abstinence is good because people are capable of living this life and it will stop the disease dead in its tracks. It is ideologically flawed to promote condoms in countries where there is serious malnutrition and even starvation. Rather than sending food, clean water, help with education and agriculture, why should be have the patronizing arrogance to bombard them with latex? You can’t eat condoms. Many young men in Africa refuse to wear condoms due to personal taste. A key way to support development in Africa is by concentrating on simple goods rather than ideology. A study commissioned by UNAIDS concluded, "Prevention campaigns relying primarily on the use of condoms have not been responsible for turning around any generalized epidemic." Researchers at the Harvard AIDS Prevention Research Project recently reminded us that in every African country in which HIV infections have declined, this decline has been associated with a decrease in multiple partners and often premarital sex as well. This is not true of use of condoms. Moreover, it was found, according to the Journal of International Development, that "the promotion of condoms at an early stage proved to be counter-productive in Botswana , whereas the lack of condom promotion during the 1980s and early 1990s contributed to the relative success of behaviour change strategies in Uganda." According to G.K. Chesterton, “Bad ideas kill.” The promotion of so called ‘safe’ sex when there is a deadly and uncontrollable virus around is a lie that has the potential to kill. It is undeniable that the promotion of condoms goes hand in hand with encouraging promiscuity. Condoms symbolise value free sex where consequences are discarded for the sake of pleasure and use. In Adams City High School in Colorado it was noted that “In the three years since this high school became one of the first to hand out condoms, the birth rate has soared to 31% above the national average of 58.1 births per 1,000 students
annually.”26 Cardinal William Napier of South Africa has spoken about HIV/AIDS in Africa, exposing the reality of the situation. He said, “If the media could show us one example of when condoms have actually succeeded in arresting the rate of infection let alone turning it around then we could have a debate about whether condoms are the answer.” We do have one example of a success story against HIV/AIDS in Africa. This is from Uganda, where a clear message from the government encouraged people to change their behaviour to dramatic effect. It decreased the rate of infection from 29% to 6%. Botswana was a country that decided to heavily promote condoms. It went from a country with one of the lowest rates of HIV/AIDS to one of the highest. In 2001, 38% of pregnant women were HIV positive. A member of the Botswana parliament said its people had a stark choice, “Abstain or die.” There is also a lot to be learnt comparing the Philippines with Thailand. Both south-east Asian countries have a similar population size. In 1991, the WHO predicted that by 1999, both countries would have between 60-90,000 deaths from HIV/AIDS per annum. Thailand promoted a 100% condom use programme. By August 2003, there were 125,000 deaths from HIV/AIDS in Thailand. In the Philippines, an abstinence message was strongly promoted. In September 2003, there were 260 deaths from HIV/AIDS.27 This is a startling miscalculation and shows the effectiveness of abstinence education. If we are to learn anything from these accounts, it is that chastity education can help to eradicate HIV/AIDS and the ideal of one partner for life is a fulfilling and accomplishable aim. The promotion of contraception promotes an increase in sexual activity. The Catholic Church promotes chastity, monogamy, fidelity and responsibility – these are sure ways to help end the scourge of this terrible disease. Contraception and the rejection of God Contraception is wrong because it is a denial of God. Here is what John Paul Said about the issue: "At the origin of every human person there is a creative act of God. No man comes into existence by chance; he is always the object of God's creative love. From this fundamental truth of faith and reason it follows that the procreative capacity, inscribed in human sexuality is - in its deepest truth - a cooperation with God's creative power. And it also follows that man and woman are not arbiters, are not the masters of this same capacity, called as they are, in it and through it, to be participants in God's creative decision. When, therefore, through contraception, married couples remove from the exercise of their conjugal sexuality its potential procreative capacity, they claim a power which belongs solely to God: the power to decide in a final analysis the coming into existence of a human person. They assume the qualification of not being co-operators in
26 USA Today, May 19th, 1992. 27 http://www.hli.org/condom_facts_thailand_philippines_aids_rates.html.
God's creative power, but the ultimate depositaries of the source of human life. In this perspective, contraception is to be judged objectively so profoundly unlawful, as never to be, for any reason, justified. To think or to say the contrary is equal to maintaining that in human life, situations may arise in which it is lawful not to recognize God as God."28 The rejection of Contraception, according to JP2, ●“is equivalent to refusing God himself the obedience of our intelligence.” (November 12, 1988), “equivalent to denying the Catholic concept of revelation.” (April 10, 1986). ●To hold out for exceptions on contraception is as if God’s grace were not sufficient is a form of atheism (September 17, 1983). ●“What is being questioned by rejecting that teaching… is the very idea of the holiness of God.” (November 12, 1988) Responsible Parenthood Paul VI in Humanae Vitae called for responsible parenthood. Some people claim that they have “unwanted pregnancies.” There is no such thing. In the language of the body, every pregnancy is wanted when sexual intercourse occurs. A baby is the physical embodiment of a couple’s love. For couples, their love is so strong, that after 9 months, they gave it a name. The gift of sexual love and procreation and the ability to co-create an eternal, immortal soul is something the angels do not possess. To be able to co-create somebody that was not there before is truly incredible. But, as Spiderman knows, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Fertility is not a disease that needs to be suppressed or feared. It is a normal aspect of health which ought to be understood, treasured and respected by men and women. It is good to be fertile, normal and healthy. At present, many have been lied to about what ‘reproductive health’ actually means. This phrase has been used to promote poor choices that are destructive personally and culturally. Such practices as sterilisation, artificial reproduction, contraception, cohabitation, pre marital sex are part of the culture of death and encourage single parenthood, divorce, abortion, homosexuality, family domestic violence and social disintegration. But amidst this bad news there is a quiet counter cultural revolution going on. There are good doctors who are involved in family planning, infertility treatment and gynaecological health care. Dr Phil Boyle is one such doctor in Ireland, advocating the use of fertility care and Naprotechnology as part of this clear and healthy vision of the human person. I recently went to a talk where Dr Phil told me of an extreme case. A woman experienced 6 miscarriages and came for treatment. But with the use of Naprotechnology, she was able to conceive at 40 years old and have a child! This is a mini miracle of moral medicine! This reminded me of the book of Tobit where Sarah has seven husbands but they all died on the wedding night. Tobias prays and is helped by an Angel and they live happily ever after.
28 L'Osservatore Romano, Oct. 10, 1983.
Boyle stated that the future of NFP might be with the pre treatment of couples. This can solve problems before you even knew they existed. You can successfully chart a woman’s cycle to find out the details of fertility and to avoid any problems. This type of medicine is far better than IVF which is an immoral and daunting experience I wouldn’t want even my worst enemy to go through. These new methods are a work of love, inspired by God and involve good science and medicine fostering a climate of truth and beauty for couples. This is empowering couples to embrace the theology of the body. Humanae Vitae (n.24) called for men of science to develop means of fertility regulation in line with the moral law. Professor Thomas Hilger and Billings were able to do precisely that. Naprotechnology is a new reproductive science that has developed with precision and considerable accuracy. The journal of reproductive medicine (June ’98) reported that a 5 study composite showed the Creighton model was 96.8% effective at avoiding pregnancy. Having said this, it is possible to practice NFP with a contraceptive mentality. Naprotechnology is successful both at avoiding and achieving pregnancy. It has an average success rate of 50% for infertile couples. Even couples that failed IVF have a 2030% chance of success and it treats recurrent miscarriages with an 80% success. However it cannot help couples who have past the menopause, have their tubes blocked or are not able to produce sperm. But, it can help some couples where IVF cannot help. Naprotechnology restores the link between love and life. There is a direct link between contraception and unplanned pregnancies, STDs and abortion. Contraception attempts to sever the link between love and life. It involves a subconscious mental shift in favour of abortion. The modern scientific mentality tries to tell us, “Let’s do it, because we can.” But the essence of life is a mystery which cannot be measured scientifically. This mystery must be treated with reverence. Although we can manipulate human life, we cannot create life purely by ourselves because we are always co-creators with God. Infertility is set to be a huge issue in the coming decades in Britain. 1 in 6 couples are likely to have fertility problems. IVF is an expensive, immoral, damaging and dangerous procedure that hurts a lot. Some things in life cannot be delegated to a third party. Playing God by creating and destroying embryos is tampering with human life and is a horrendous crime. Such immoral practice has left 2 million embryos dead in the UK alone. Every person that has been involved with IVF will have to give an account of their responsibility for the destruction of human life. If you have blood on your hands at the end of your life when you go to meet the creator you must explain this. God knows us even before we are born. In Jeremiah 1:5 it states: “"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” A child is the fruit of love not the labour of love. Father Frank Pavone once stated that the quest for ethical medical practice is in fact a spiritual battle between life and death. Christ gave us his body that others might live.
Abortion supporters cling to their bodies that others might die. Abortion teaches one to sacrifice the other person that I might live. But Jesus’ life was given up in self giving, life giving love. Einstein said that there were two ways to live your life- either nothing is a miracle or everything is a miracle. St Paul is more inclined to favour the latter proposition because God “by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think,” (Ephesians 3:20). For this we should give God glory to all generations for ever and ever. The safe and ethical transition from generation to generation will help us to keep singing his praises so that he might find faith on earth when he comes again. In his Letter to Artists John Paul II wrote, “All men and women are entrusted with the task of crafting their own life. In a certain sense, they are to make of it a work of art, a masterpiece.” You may not be a fine artist or performer, but you are the artist of your soul, working under a great Master. With this great Master, you can co-create to bring more souls into the world. The promotion of natural family planning In the diocese of LaCrosse in Wisconsin, a team marketed NFP in 2003. They developed and released radio adverts, newspaper adverts, four billboards, and other publicity stunts. Their slogan was simple: “99% effective. 100% natural. Your body knows.” Their basic but very well planned campaign yielded a 500% increase in the number of calls, and a marked increase in the number of couples receiving NFP instruction. Here are some suggestions of how to promote NFP in your area (on top of telling the 25 people about this method). On Discerning the difference between true and false intimacy True intimacy in a relationship does not necessarily need to express itself physically. The building up of trust and friendship prior to physical intimacy helps us to discern whether a relationship is healthy and right. Feelings have their importance, but if relied on too heavily can lead one astray. If you are in a relationship that takes you away from friends and family a lot – such exclusivity in a partner is not always healthy. Secrecy in a relationship can lead to serious problems. A recent advert on the tube states: “Can a forbidden love ever stay secret?” The most important question to ask is ‘Is this relationship leading us both closer to God?’ The problem with fast developing, overly intimate relationships is that they tend to be like cheap champagne: they fizzle out. By revealing too much of ourselves early on, especially physically, we compromise on our true worth. The book of Song of Songs tells us not to arouse or “Stir up love before its own time” (Song of Songs 3:5). A love that is patient and kind has a lifetime to develop two into one. According to one writer, “There are many ways of expressing your affection toward the person you love without excessive physical contact. Many of these alternatives can be more creative, exciting and romantic. They demonstrate true love and concern for the other person’s best interest.
The recognition that you love someone enough not to want to compromise their standards, or put their spiritual walk in jeopardy, demonstrates more love than anything else I can think of.”(29) Later on, a false intimacy is one that refuses to allow union of spouses. Josh Harris identifies that deepening intimacy without defining a level of commitment is dangerous. He says, “It’s like going mountain climbing with a partner who isn’t sure that she wants the responsibility of holding your rope.”(30) Rather than two becoming one, two remain two. Marriage is always a step of faith, combining commitment and intimacy. Cohabitation is a seedbed for false intimacy and commitment, leading to potentially lethal marital problems. Contraceptives and prenuptial agreements create barriers in a relationship which prevent true union of the spouses in heart, mind and soul. These compromise on intimacy because they create distance and distrust in a relationship. They both emphasize individuality above communality. Being exposed in intimacy, true love only happens when we hold nothing back from those we love most. The total, fruitful and faithful nature of love then is able to bring forth its harvest.
29 Josh Mcdowell, Why Wait? What you need to know about the teen sexuality crisis.
Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1987, p358. 30 Josh Harris, I kissed dating goodbye, multnomah books, Oregon, 1997, p32.
Natural Family Planning Resources Free NFP Manual at http://www.nfpandmore.org/ The Fertility Care Centre London http://www.fertilitycarecentre.co.uk/ Promotes the Creighton method of NFP - 02074370892 Billings ovulation method: http://www.boma-usa.org/ This is a simple, scientific method of NFP, in use for over 50 years. NFP Outreach: http://nfpoutreach.org/ Useful NFP information One more soul: http://www.omsoul.com/ Non profit organization committed to spreading the news about the blessings of children and the harms of contraception. Pope Paul VI institute http://www.popepaulvi.com/ Promoting morally and professionally acceptable reproductive health services. Family of the Americas: http://www.familyplanning.net Useful organization promoting family life and NFP Couple to couple league http://www.ccli.org Building healthy marriages through NFP since 1971. www.woomb.org Billings observation method of Natural Family Planning www.billingsnaomi.org National Association of Ovulation Method Instructors (Billings). www.lifefertility.org.uk LIFE FertilityCare program (UK). http://28daysonthepill.com/ - ‘Super Size me’ version of the pill LIFE health centre 01512280353 www.linacre.org Linacre centre for healthcare ethics. Good counsel network- 02077231760 email@example.com Books, CDs and Leaflets: The art of Natural Family Planning by John and Sheila Kippley, (Couple to Couple League, Cincinnati, 1989). The Pill: Are you sure it’s for you? By Alexandra Pope and Jane Bennet (ORION, 2009) Does the birth control pill cause abortions? By Randy Alcorn, 1997. Why NFP? Practicing Chastity within Marriage by Jason Evert, CD available from www.catholic.com Donum Vitae, Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith, Pope John Paul II.
Evangelium Vitae, Encyclical Letter, Pope John Paul II. Contraception: Why not? A CD by Janet Smith.
Natural Family Planning
Similarities: Enable couples to have sexual intercourse while reducing prospect of pregnancy Differences Violation of nature Self-Mastery Physical 1. 2. Chemical ones and IUD are abortifacients Most attack a woman’s health; involve ingestion of synthetic hormones a. Severe side effects i. Cysts ii. Migraines iii. Strokes b. Common side effects i. Irritability ii. Increased propensity to depression iii. Weight gain iv. Reduced Sexual Desire Greater incidence of sexually transmitted diseases (because of greater sexual activity outside of marriage) Unreliable for preventing pregnancy Deprives women of hormones that produce sexual desire 1. 2. 3. 4. No bad physical side effects Extremely reliable for preventing pregnancy Used with ecological breastfeeding, promotes important bonding; breastfeeding also reduces chances of breast cancer Deprives woman of sexual intercourse when hormones produce greatest sexual desire
2. 3. 4.
Social Leads to sex outside of marriage Increased number of abortions Increased number of single parents a. Greater poverty for women and children 2. Increased number of children not being cared for by two parents a. More crime b. More addiction c. More depression 3. Expensive Relational 1. Premature Sexual Activity: heartbreak; loss of trust; loss of self-esteem; STDs 2. Bad preparation for marriage a. Cohabitation b. Lose critical faculty c. Avoid having crucial conversations d. Marry rather than split up and start all over 2. Resent “accidental” pregnancies 3. Leads to divorce a. Did not choose spouse carefully b. Don’t experience bonding of noncontraceptive sex c. Fewer children and later in marriage i. Less reason to stay together ii. Don’t acquire virtues developed through parenting 4. More Adultery 5. Sometimes become materialistic: value material wellbeing over more children Spiritual 1. 2. 3. 1. 2. 3. Treat fertility as a defect Shut God out of creative arena Resent Church for outdated teaching
1. 2. 3. 4.
Difficult for unmarried to use Upon learning NFP sexually activity teenagers often stop being sexually active Upon learning NFP cohabiting couples generally either split or marry Costs nothing to use
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
2. 3. 1. 2. 3.
Very few NFP marriages end in divorce Accept “surprise” pregnancies Better Communication Greater mutual respect Greater trust Abstinence can be good for couple a. Fosters virtue of self-mastery and generosity b. Promotes self-esteem c. Creates courtship period to be followed by honeymoon d. For those who were chaste before marriage, recalls joy of courtship e. Couples become better lovers: sexual act becomes more the result of choice than of an urgent need More tranquil household: good example to teenage children Become less materialistic and more open to new life Respect the truth of sexuality and the language of the body Become cooperators and co-creators with God Appreciate wisdom of Church
Learn about the beauty and splendour of God’s plan for love and life. •The talk gives a detailed explanation of the basics of NFP. Learn about a method that is safe, inexpensive and reliable. •The theological and biological difference between contraception and NFP will be explained. •The divorce rate of couples who use NFP is around 2%, compared to 40% among contraceptive users. •Further information is given on the damage that some forms of contraception do to the body.