Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

British Medical Journal: Natural Family Planning= Effective Birth Control Supported by Cathol Chrch
British Medical Journal/ Loyola University ^ | R.E.J. Ryder

Posted on 12/10/2001 7:49:06 PM PST by Brian Kopp DPM

British Medical Journal, Sept 18, 1993 v307 n6906 p723(4) 

"Natural family planning": 
Effective Birth Control Supported by the Catholic Church
 R.E.J. Ryder. 


Abstract:
    Natural family planning, when used by motivated couples, is a safe and cost-effective means of birth control. Natural family planning, which involves teaching women to recognize signs of ovulation and to avoid intercourse on fertile days, is the only method of birth control approved by the Catholic Church. A total of 869 women of diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds participated in a study conducted by the World Health Organization. Regardless of literacy and culture, 93% of the women were able to recognize the changes in their cervical mucus associated with ovulation. Other studies have emphasized the importance of good initial teaching and the motivation of the woman practicing the method. A failure rate of 0.2 pregnancies per 100 women was found in a study of 19,843 women in India. 

[Full Text: COPYRIGHT 1993 British Medical Association] 

During 20-22 September Manchester is to host the 1993 follow up to last year's "earth summit" in Rio de Janeiro. At that summit the threat posed by world overpopulation received considerable attention. Catholicism was perceived as opposed to birth control and therefore as a particular threat. This was based on the notion that the only method of birth control approved by the church--natural family planning--is unreliable, unacceptable, and ineffective. 

In the 20 years since E L Billings and colleagues first described the cervical mucus symptoms associated with ovulation natural family planning has incorporated these symptoms and advanced considerably. Ultrasonography shows that the symptoms identify ovulation precisely. According to the World Health Organisation, 93% of women everywhere can identify the symptoms, which distinguish adequately between the fertile and infertile phases of the menstrual cycle. Most pregnancies during trials of natural family planning occur after intercourse at times recognised by couples as fertile. Thus pregnancy rates have depended on the motivation of couples. Increasingly studies show that rates equivalent to those with other contraceptive methods are readily achieved in the developed and developing worlds. Indeed, a study of 19 843 poor women in India had a pregnancy rate approaching zero. Natural family planning is cheap, effective, without side effects, and may be particularly acceptable to and efficacious among people in areas of poverty. 

The 1993 follow up to last year's "earth summit" in Rio de Janeiro is to take place in Manchester during 20-22 September and is entitled "Partnerships for change." The Rio earth summit focused considerable attention on the expanding population of the world as an important issue in relation to resources, environment, and poverty. In the media the "opposition of the Catholic Church to birth control" was discussed (BBC Radio 4, Today Programme, 18 May 1992) and considered to be an important factor with the many millions of Catholics in the world, particularly the Third World, such as Brazil. In the medical press the "Pope's continuing opposition to birth control" was condemned[1] and powerful Vatican opposition was considered likely to wreck hope of useful progress at the earth summit with regard to global overpopulation as a most urgent ecological hazard.[2] 
The widespread beliefs that the Catholic Church is opposed to birth control,[1] that the urgent provision of artificial contraception within the Third World is the only answer to overpopulation, and that the Catholic Church is opposed to this[2] all stem from the perception that the so called "natural methods of family planning," which are approved by the Catholic Church, are unreliable, unacceptable, and ineffective. Historically, this perception is based on the unreliability of the rhythm method of contraception ("Roman roulette"), which attempts to identify the fertile phase of the woman's cycle by calendar calculations. Is this perception as accurate today as it may have been in the past? 

The ovum has a life span of not more than 24 hours and is fertilisable for only part of that time.[3] The life span of the sperm may be measured in hours under adverse conditions. Under optimum conditions, however, sperms may remain viable for four or five days, and a life span of up to seven days has been postulated.[3] Thus a woman is potentially fertile for no more than six to eight days of her cycle, probably less in most cases. To what extent can these potentially fertile days be accurately identified and avoided by most women as a method of birth control? 

Cyclical changes in cervical mucus secretion

In 1972 Billings et al reported the characteristic changes in cervical mucus secretion which occur during the menstrual cycle.[4] After menstruation there are a variable number of "dry" days with little or no mucus secretion and a feeling of dryness in the vaginal area. Then, as ovulation approaches under the influence of increasing oestrogen concentrations[3 5] the dry feeling ends and there is increasing secretion of cervical mucus, which at the time of ovulation becomes an abundant discharge of substance like the raw white of an egg. After ovulation the first secretion of progesterone abruptly reverses the effect of oestrogen on cervical mucus and causes it to become thick and rubbery, forming a plug in the cervix.[3 5] The fertile-type, "raw egg white" cervical mucus is of low viscosity and high threadability (spinnbarkeit) with glycoprotein fibrils in a micelle-like structure which aids sperm migration. It contains sugars and trace elements necessary for sperm survival, capacitation, and transport and it can maintain the sperm capable of fertilisation for several days.[3 5 6] By contrast, the thick, white, non-stretchy mucus which occurs at other times in the cycle is impenetrable by sperm and hostile to its survival. 


Other symptoms have been described in association with ovulation, in particular periovulatory pain and the progesterone induced postovulatory rise in basal body temperature. Hormonal studies have confirmed the close relation of the various symptoms with ovulation,[4 7] and more recently ovarian ultrasonography has suggested that the day of most abundant secretion of fertile-type egg white mucus identifies the day of ovulation as precisely as does the luteinising hormone peak (see figure).[8] Other symptoms associated with the cyclical changes in oestrogen and progesterone concentrations include changes in the cervix, breast tissue, skin, hair, libido, and moods.[3 5] 


Pregnancy and contraception 

Reported pregnancy rates (pregnancies per 100 woman years; Pearl index) in well motivated couples using the condom, diaphragm, intrauterine device, and progestogen only and combined oestrogen-progestogen oral contraception are 3.6, 1.9, 1.4, 1.2, and 0.18 respectively.[9] Much higher rates have been recorded, particularly among less motivated couples--for example, pregnancy rates of 21 and 22 in condom users[10] and 23 in diaphragm users.[10] Pregnancy rates of 23 and 28 have also been reported in users of oral contraceptives in the developing world.[11] As shown in Oxford, even the contraceptive pill may fail if the woman forgets to take it, runs out of tablets, or has diarrhoea and vomiting or other illness.[12] 
Early trials of birth control based on symptom observation[13-17] yielded pregnancy rates of 6.0[17] to 25.4.[13] Most conceptions occurred because of intercourse on days designated by the family planning method as fertile. Controversy therefore ensued[18-21] between those who thought that all pregnancies occurring in trials should be considered as failures of the particular method[19 21] and those who thought that the method could not be blamed if couples had intercourse during a phase which they knew to be fertile.[18 20] It was also possible that initial scepticism about natural family planning methods led to a casual approach by couples.[13] 

WHO study 

Given a natural pregnancy rate--that is, the Pearl index without any birth control--estimated as 80,[22] the cheapness of natural family planning, and the acceptability of natural family planning to many cultures and religions, the World Health Organisation undertook an international study.[23-27] A total of 869 women of proved fertility and widely varying cultural, educational, and economic backgrounds were studied in five centres (Auckland, Bangalore, Dublin, Manila, and San Miguel, El Salvador). Regardless of culture and education, 93% of the women recorded an interpretable ovulatory mucus pattern. Of the El Salvador women, 48.1% were illiterate and yet recognised the mucus symptoms.[23] 


Detailed analysis in the WHO study confirmed the potential effectiveness of mucus symptom observation as a means of family planning. The probability of conception from intercourse outside the period of fertility defined by cervical mucus observation was 0.004 (see table).[25] Intercourse on days designated as fertile by cervical mucus observation resulted in conception with increasing frequency the nearer to ovulation that intercourse occurred, intercourse on the peak day of cervical mucus secretion resulting in a probability of conception of 0.667 (table).[25] Thus it is clear that women of all cultures and educational backgrounds can learn to recognise when they ovulate and when they are potentially fertile and that if intercourse is avoided on potentially fertile days pregnancies will not occur. 


[TABULAR DATA OMITTED] 
Increased confidence in natural contraception 

After the early studies,[13-17] increased confidence in and experience with natural family planning methods tended to lead to progressively lower overall pregnancy rates. The rates, however, remain variable, depending on the standard of teaching and the motivation to avoid pregnancy.[24 28-39] A study in Chile confirmed the importance of good initial natural family planning teaching, experienced teachers achieving a pregnancy rate of 4.7, inexperienced teachers achieving a rate of 16.8.[28] Studies have underlined the importance of motivation, one international study finding a pregnancy rate of 4.13 in couples wishing to limit their families but a rate of 14.56 in couples wishing only to space their families.[29] Studies suggest that methods combining several indicators of ovulation yield lower pregnancy rates.[3] The cost issue has been addressed, studies from Liberia and Zambia showing pregnancy rates of 4.3 and 8.9 and user costs of $40 and $30 respectively.[35] A study of natural family planning in general practice in the United Kingdom also found it to be by far the cheapest method.[39] 


The largest natural family planning study combined effective teaching with high motivation and showed that natural family planning can be extremely effective in the Third World.[33] The study was of 19 843 predominantly poor women in Calcutta, 52% Hindu, 27% Muslim, and 21% Christian. Because of poverty motivation was high both among the users and among the well trained teachers of natural family planning. The failure rate was similar to that with the combined contraceptive pill--0.2 pregnancy/100 women users yearly.[33] The result suggests that poverty as the motivation can greatly improve the effectiveness of natural family planning. A similar result, however, was achieved in Germany in a study with a pregnancy rate of 0.8.[34] 


An Italian study found an overall pregnancy rate of 3.6, all the pregnancies occurring in couples wishing to space but not limit their families. The pregnancy rate was zero in couples who wanted no more children.[30] With other German studies finding pregnancy rates of 1.8[31] and 2.3,[36] a study in general practice in the United Kingdom finding a rate of 2.7,[39] and a study among 3003 illiterate and semiliterate women in India yielding a pregnancy rate of 2.04[37] the accumulating data confirm that natural family planning can be as effective as any method of family planning. 


Implications for the Third World 

In the WHO study most couples in the three developing countries who practised natural family planning were satisfied with the frequency of intercourse, whereas in the two developed countries one third of subjects and half of their partners who practised the method would have preferred more frequent intercourse.[27] It might be argued that natural family planning being cheap, effective, without side effects, and potentially particularly effective and acceptable in areas of poverty may be the family planning method of choice for the Third World. The case for and against this may be argued and debated, but whatever the standpoint there is no doubt that it would be more efficient for the ongoing world debate on overpopulation, resources, environment, poverty, and health to be conducted against a background of truth rather than fallacy. It is therefore important that the misconception that Catholicism is synonymous with ineffective birth control[1 2] is laid to rest. 


Understanding the simple facts about the signs of fertility confers considerable power to couples to control their fertility, for achieving as well as preventing conception. The widespread dissemination of these simple facts would be useful everywhere but might be of particular value in the Third World. 

 

Notes

[1] Godlee F. Going backwards in Rio. BMJ 1992;304:1525. 
[2] Poole J. Time for the Vatican to bend. Lancet 1992;339:1340-1. 
[3] Flynn AM. Natural methods of contraception. Maternal and Child Health 1991;16:148-53. 
[4] Billings EL, Billings JJ, Brown JB, Burger HG. Symptoms and hormonal changes accompanying ovulation. Lancet 1972;i:282-4. 
[5] France JT. The detection of ovulation for fertility and infertility. In: Bonnar J, ed. Recent advances in obstetrics and gynaecology. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 1982:215-39. 
[6] Bromwich PD. Problems with sperm/cervical mucus interaction. Part 1: pathophysiology. British Journal of Sexual Medicine 1985;12:124-5. 
[7] Flynn AM, Lynch SS. Cervical mucus and identification of the fertile phase of the menstrual cycle. Br J Obstet Gynaecol 1976;83:656-9. 
[8] Depares J, Ryder REJ, Walker SM, Scanlon MF, Norman CM. Ovarian ultrasonography highlights precison of symptoms of ovulation as markers of ovulation. BMJ 1986;292:1562. 
[9] Vessey M, Lawless M, Yeates D. Efficacy of different contraceptive methods. Lancet 1982;i:841-2. 
[10] Mills A. Barrier contraception. Clin Obstet Gynecol 1984;11:641-60. 
[11] Laing JE. Natural family planning in the Philippines. Stud Fam Plann 1984;15:49-55. 
[12] Duncan G, Harper C, Ashwell E, Mant D, Buchan H, Jones L. Termination of pregnancy: lessons for prevention. British Journal of Family Planning 1990;15:112-7. 
[13] Weissman MC, Foliaki L, Billings EL, Billings JJ. A trial of the ovulation method of family planning in Tonga. Lancet 1972;ii:813-6. 
[14] Ball M. A prospective field trial of the ovulation method of avoiding conception. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 1976;6:63-6. 
[15] Marshall J. A field trial of the basal body temperature method of regulating births. Lancet 1968;ii:8-10. 
[16] Marshall J. Cervical-mucus and basal body temperature method of regulating births. Lancet 1976;ii:282-3. 
[17] Parenteau-Carreau S, Lanctot CA, Rice FJ. Etude internationale Fairfield sur l'efficacite de la methode sympto-thermique de regulation des naissances. Resultats Canadiens compares aux resultats globaux. La Vie Medicale au Canada Francais 1976;4:145-53. 
[18] Billings JJ. Natural family planning. Lancet 1976;ii:579. 
[19] Marshall J. Natural family planning. Lancet 1976;ii:685. 
[20] Billings JJ. Natural family planning. Lancet 1976;ii:969. 
[21] Marshall J. Natural family planning. Lancet 1976;ii:1085. 
[22] Reid KM. Choice of method. In: Loudon N, ed. Handbook of family planning. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 1985:25-39. 
[23] World Health Organisation. A prospective multicentre trial of the ovulation method of natural family planning. I. The teaching phase. Fertil Steril 1981;36:152-8. 
[24] World Health Organisation. A prospective multicentre trial of the ovulation method of natural family planning. II. The effectiveness phase. Fertil Steril 1981;36:591-8. 
[25] World Health Organisation. A prospective multicentre trial of the ovulation method of natural family planning. III. Characteristics of the menstrual cycle and of the fertile phase. Fertil Steril 1983;40:773-8. 
[26] World Health Organisation. A prospective multicentre trial of the ovulation method of natural family planning. IV. The outcome of pregnancy. Fertil Steril 1984;41:593-8. 
[27] World Health Organisation. A prospective multicentre trial of the ovulation method of natural family planning. V. Psychosexual aspects. Fertil Steril 1987;47:765-72. 
[28] Perez A, Zabala A, Larrain A, Widmer S, Nunez M, Baranda B, et al. The clinical efficiency of the ovulation method (Billings). Rev Chil Obstet Ginecol 1983;48:97-102. 
[29] Rice RJ, Lanctot CA, Garcia-Devesa C. Effectiveness of the symptothermal method of natural family planning: an international study. Int J Fertil 1981;26:222-30. 
[30] Barbato M, Bertolotti G. Natural methods for fertility control: a prospective study. Int J Fertil 1988;33(suppl):48-51. 
[31] Frank-Hermann P, Bremme M, Rosmus t, Kunkel W. Use-effectiveness of a symptothermal method in Germany. In: Schaitouits H, ed. Proceedings of 4th European congress IFFLP/FIDAF Vienna, Austria. Vienna: Institut fur Ehe und Familie, 1987:27-45. 
[32] Bonnar J. Natural family planning including breast feeding. In: Mishell DR, ed. Advances in fertility research. New York: Raven Press, 1982:1-18. 
[33] Ghosh AK, Saha S, Chattergee G. Symptothermia vis a vis fertility control. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of India 1982;32:443-7. 
[34] Roetzer J. Symptothermal methods of natural family planning. International Review of Natural Family Planning 1981;5:200-2. 
[35] Kambic RT, Gray RH, Lanctot CA, Martin MC, Wesley R, Cremins R. Evaluation of natural family planning programs in Liberia and Zambia. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1991;165:2078. 
[36] Frank-Herrmann P, Freundl G, Burr S, Bremme M, Doring GK, Godehardt EAJ, et al. Effectiveness and acceptability of the symptothermal method of natural family planning in Germany. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1991;165:2052-4. 
[37] Dorairaj K. The modified mucus method in India. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1991;165:2066-7. 
[38] Kelly J. Audit of health services in Gurage. J Trop Pediatr 1992;38:206-7. 
[39] Clubb EM, Pyper CM, Knight J. A pilot study on teaching natural family planning in general practice. In: Natural family planning: current knowledge and new strategies for the 1990s. Washington, DC: Georgetown University, 1990:130-2. 
[40] Ryder REJ, Depares J, Norman C, Walker S, Scanlon MF. Ovarian ultrasonography and the precision of the symptoms of ovulation. Clin Sci 1985;69(suppl 12):17P.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: abortionlist; catholiclist; christianlist; michaeldobbs
There is a lot of disinformation on many threads on Free Republic on the issue of birth control and NFP, and the effectiveness of NFP. This article and this list is made available here as a starting point to clear up some of those misconceptions.

NFP vs. Contraception"

THE CHRISTIAN VIEW OF SEX: A TIME FOR APOLOGETICS, NOT APOLOGIES

What is an Abortifacient?

Catholic Church Teaching on Abortifacients

What is Contraception?

Prayer of Acceptance

Confronting the Contraceptive Culture, by Fr. Jim Whalen (an article)

A Comprehensive Pro-Life Checkmate Strategy (for adults and youth)

The Connection between Contraception & Abortion, by Janet Smith (an article)

Side Effects of Birth Control Pills

The Consequences of Contraception, by Fr. Paul Burchat (an article)

The 21st Century Belongs to Natural Family Planning, by Fr. Joseph Hattie (an article)

Church Teaching on Contraception, by Dr. Donal DeMarco (an article)

Summary of the Recommendations of the Natural Family Planning Summit Meeting Sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Family (Rome, Dec. 9-11, 1992)

Benefits of Natural Family Planning, Pope Paul VI

Affirmation of the Value of Natural Regulation of Fertility by the Natural Family Planning Summit Meeting, Rome, Dec. 9-11, 1992)

Protestants and Birth Control

Abortion & Breast Cancer FAQ

Overview: Breast Cancer and the Pill

Overpopulation

'If It Works, Don't Fix It: What Every Man Should Know Before Having A Vasectomy'

Be Good to Yourself - Don't Use Depo-Provera
Birth Control Pills and Young Women
Breast Cancer's Link to Abortion & the Pill
Contraceptive Imperialism versus Gospel of Life
Contraceptives and Informed Consent
My Advice To The Newlywed
Our Unexpected Date with the Culture of Death

1 posted on 12/10/2001 7:49:06 PM PST by Brian Kopp DPM
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: patent; Notwithstanding; *Catholic_list; *Christian_list; *Abortion_list; *Pro_life
*
2 posted on 12/10/2001 7:53:37 PM PST by Brian Kopp DPM
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: proud2bRC
And please don't forget...


3 posted on 12/10/2001 8:00:39 PM PST by Brian Kopp DPM
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: proud2bRC
without side effects

The best part of it.

What would also help the third world with birth control is to stop getting married at age 15.

4 posted on 12/11/2001 5:23:49 AM PST by A Ruckus of Dogs
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: proud2bRC
Rebump.
5 posted on 12/11/2001 6:59:46 AM PST by patent
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: .45MAN; AKA Elena; al_c; american colleen; Angelus Errare; Antoninus; aposiopetic; Aquinasfan; ...
These folks below must not have read the article in this old thread:

Women May Ovulate More Than Once a Month, Study Says

Tue Jul 8, 2003

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - No wonder the rhythm method does not work so well for birth control -- scientists in Canada said on Tuesday they had found women sometimes ovulate several times a single month.



Their finding, if verified, would overturn the traditional wisdom that women produce an egg cell once a month. It would also help explain why "natural" methods of birth control, based on the idea that ovulation can be predicted, often fail.


"We are literally going to have to re-write medical textbooks," said Dr. Roger Pierson, director of the Reproductive Biology Research Unit at the University of Saskatchewan, who led the study.


"It's exactly why the rhythm method doesn't work."


Scientists have long known that humans have unique cycles of ovulation. Many animals come into heat -- a time when all the males around know through smells and visual signals that a female is ovulating and ready to conceive.


Not so with humans, who have "concealed" ovulation.


Standard medical science says a woman has a cycle running roughly 28 days in which an egg ripens, is released by the follicle, drops into the fallopian tube, and then is either fertilized or shed during menstruation.


Writing in the journal Fertility and Sterility, Pierson and colleagues found this did not always happen.


"We weren't expecting this. We really weren't," Pierson said in a telephone interview.


DAILY ULTRASOUND SCANS


In the study, Pierson, veterinarian Gregg Adams and graduate student Angela Baerwald did daily, high-resolution ultrasound scans on 63 women for a month, which allowed them to see the follicles very clearly.


"We had 63 women with normal menstrual cycles. Of those 63, only 50 had normal ovarian cycles," Pierson said.


Thirteen of the women ovulated multiple times, in various different ways. And of the other 50, 40 percent had up to three waves of activity by the follicles, any one of which could result in the production of an egg.


The women's hormone levels did not match this activity, Pierson said. "Hopefully this will help women explain how they got pregnant when they really didn't want to be pregnant, and it certainly will help us design better fertility therapies."


Apparently, measuring hormones in the blood is not enough to predict what a woman's reproductive system is up to.


"The hormones do what they are going to do and the ovaries just follow their merry path," Pierson said.


"We always thought that menstrual cycles and ovarian cycles were one and the same. It turns out they are just like two political parties -- sometimes they go along hand in hand for the good of the country and sometimes they go along their separate ways."





Pierson's team plans longer-term studies to see if the women's patterns are consistent from month to month.

"We don't know what's causing it -- we don't know if it is the weather or exposure to men or grapefruit juice or what," Pierson said.

The findings, which were first seen in cattle and horses, help explain some things that have puzzled obstetricians, Pierson said.

"It really explains how we get fraternal twins with different conception days," Pierson said. "Clinically, we see this all the time. We see women come in with twins and when we do an ultrasound we see one is at one 10 weeks development and another at seven."




6 posted on 07/08/2003 6:10:05 PM PDT by Polycarp (When a mother can kill her own child, what is left of the West to save?" - Mother Theresa)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Polycarp
Is there validity to the "new" data? Given that NFP (partial abstinence) is approved only in cases of necessity, and often then medical necessity, should the pius couple practice total abstinence when face with lifethreatening OB-GYN issues?
7 posted on 07/08/2003 9:14:36 PM PDT by narses ("The do-it-yourself Mass is ended. Go in peace" Francis Carindal Arinze of Nigeria)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: narses
Given that NFP (partial abstinence) is approved only in cases of necessity, and often then medical necessity, should the pius couple practice total abstinence when face with lifethreatening OB-GYN issues?

Good question. I would think so. It's certainly a big cross to bear.

You also have a good point about NFP being used out of medical or other grave necessity. The pope on many occassions has warned against adopting a "contraceptive mentality."

8 posted on 07/09/2003 4:53:34 AM PDT by Aquinasfan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Diago; narses; Loyalist; BlackElk; american colleen; saradippity; Polycarp; Dajjal; ...
Ping to Post #6.

This is very interesting new data. I have long been skeptical of the "success" claims made by promoters of NFP. My experience and my observation of acquaintances and NFP forums like EWTN and the Couple to Couple League indicate that the "success" rate is much, much lower than what they are claiming. This study confirms what I have suspected, the ovulation cycle is more complex than how it has been represented.

I put the word "success" in quotes because I do not consider it a success when a couple avoids having children. "Generously accepting children from God -- in whatever number He chooses to send them," is the truly Catholic approach. This scientific data merely confirms for me the frustration -- both natural and supernatural -- which accompanies the attempt to control God's providence.
9 posted on 07/09/2003 9:28:05 AM PDT by Maximilian
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Maximilian; Polycarp
"Generously accepting children from God -- in whatever number He chooses to send them," is the truly Catholic approach.

So you agree with the "providentialists" and see as "inferior" those using NFP?

10 posted on 07/09/2003 10:35:27 AM PDT by ThomasMore
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Maximilian
the "success" rate is much, much lower than what they are claiming.

When practiced properly, the success rate is exactly as they claim. The problem is ... folks "cheat" or do not learn NFP as it is supposed to be taught. That is why they fail.

11 posted on 07/09/2003 10:56:20 AM PDT by al_c
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: ThomasMore
So you agree with the "providentialists" and see as "inferior" those using NFP?

I agree with Pope Pius XII. In his famous "Allocution to the Italian Midwives" he warned that any use of periodic continence which was not justified by grave reasons was "a sin against the very nature of married life."

Then in his "Address to Large Families" he encouraged Catholic families to accept children from God "in whatever number He chooses to send them."

If agreeing with Pope Pius XII makes me a "providentialist," then fine, that sounds like a pretty complimentary term. And as for those using NFP being "inferior," their consciences can tell them if they are really justified by sufficiently grave reasons. But Pope Pius XII had no problem denying any equality between large families and those reduced by family size limitation:

Large families are the most splendid flower-beds in the garden of the Church; happiness flowers in them and sanctity ripens in favorable soil. Every family group, even the smallest, was meant by God to be an oasis of spiritual peace. But there is a tremendous difference: where the number of children is not much more than one, that serene intimacy that gives value to life has a touch of melancholy or of pallor about it; it does not last as long, it may be more uncertain, it is often clouded by secret fears and remorse. It is very different from the serenity of spirit to be found in parents who are surrounded by a rich abundance of young lives. The joy that comes from the plentiful blessings of God breaks out in a thousand different ways and there is no fear that it will end.

12 posted on 07/09/2003 10:58:55 AM PDT by Maximilian
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Dr. Brian Kopp
NFP Bump!
13 posted on 07/09/2003 10:59:45 AM PDT by el_chupacabra (50 million Elvis fans can't be wrong.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: al_c
When practiced properly, the success rate is exactly as they claim. The problem is ... folks "cheat" or do not learn NFP as it is supposed to be taught. That is why they fail.

Did you read today's article about multiple ovulations during a single month? It looks like there could be more reasons why they "fail" than just "cheating."

14 posted on 07/09/2003 11:01:26 AM PDT by Maximilian
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: ThomasMore; Maximilian
I would be careful accepting conclusions regarding the efficacy of NFP coming from any researcher embracing the contraceptive mentality. The facts raised in this British Medical Journal article, and my own observations as a doctor and an NFP instructor for 10 years trumps the pathetic comments of these researchers regarding the "Rhythm method."

So you agree with the "providentialists" and see as "inferior" those using NFP?

Using NFP is licit only for those clearly defined periods of time whereby a couple has grave reason for having recourse to NFP. Providentialism is NEVER illicit, because recourse to NFP is never demanded. Heroic virtue may eliminate any need of NFP, substituting heroic abandonment to Divine Providence. But heroic virtue is never demanded; only morally licit behavior is demanded. In certain cases where grave reasons for recourse to NFP exist, its use is no more nor less "moral" or licit than providentialism.

Any blanket condemnation of NFP is just as wrong as any blanket approval of NFP for any reason whatsoever.

We teach there are 4 main reasons for having recourse to NFP.

1--Physical/ mental health---a pregnancy could kill you or so physically impair you as to prevent your fulfillment of your duties in your state in life---NOT because of a widening wasteline or drooping skin! Or psychological health, i.e., mom would literally have a nervous breakdown if she became pregnant---not because she "just couldn't stand being home with the little kids all day without the personal fulfillment of her professional job..."

2--Financial constraints---your child will starve if you have another. Wanting a bigger house or designer SUV just does not cut it!

3--work on the mission fields by one or both spouses that would proclude having children temporarily

4--active persecution or war---i.e., you or your child likely to die by coercive abortion, in concentration camp, in acts of war, etc.

Clearly we say these reasons must be SERIOUS, not trivial. Only the couple and their confessor can truly decide what truly constitutes grave reason.

15 posted on 07/09/2003 11:10:09 AM PDT by Polycarp (When a mother can kill her own child, what is left of the West to save?" - Mother Theresa)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Polycarp
Using NFP is licit only for those clearly defined periods of time whereby a couple has grave reason for having recourse to NFP. Providentialism is NEVER illicit, because recourse to NFP is never demanded. Heroic virtue may eliminate any need of NFP, substituting heroic abandonment to Divine Providence. But heroic virtue is never demanded; only morally licit behavior is demanded.

This, and the rest of your post, was very well stated.

16 posted on 07/09/2003 11:15:02 AM PDT by Maximilian
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Maximilian
Did you read today's article about multiple ovulations during a single month? It looks like there could be more reasons why they "fail" than just "cheating."

Yes, I did ... it's old news. And if the couple is following all the NFP rules (this situation is covered by the instructors and in the book, if i remember correctly), they'd be able to catch the double ovulation.

17 posted on 07/09/2003 11:15:43 AM PDT by al_c
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: narses; ThomasMore; Maximilian
Is there validity to the "new" data?

A word of caution to those who are putting too much credence into this "report":

One Reuters report on one researcher's conclusions does not validify the "new" data by any means whatsoever.

This article is just as much a hit piece against NFP as it is a "science report" on the conclusions based on this study.

I'm not buying ANY of it till I see the medical journal report itself and subsequent peer reviewed studies that verify this one.

18 posted on 07/09/2003 11:19:23 AM PDT by Polycarp (When a mother can kill her own child, what is left of the West to save?" - Mother Theresa)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: al_c
Yes, I did ... it's old news.

You may know more about it than I do, but according to this article, the researchers were pretty shocked, and they said that "textbooks would need to be rewritten." This doesn't sound like "old news" to me.

I would like to see a study in which 100 fertile couples start January 1st using NFP. Then count how many are pregnant by December 31st. I would bet the percentage would be quite high. And thank God for that! The one thing that I actually like about NFP is that it doesn't work, thus allowing more babies to be born into the world.

19 posted on 07/09/2003 11:20:01 AM PDT by Maximilian
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Polycarp
This article is just as much a hit piece against NFP as it is a "science report" on the conclusions based on this study.

True, the reporting is biased. But the facts of the original study (which had nothing to do with the rhythmn method) seem pretty straightforward. The data about fraternal twins with different conception dates was fascinating.

20 posted on 07/09/2003 11:22:19 AM PDT by Maximilian
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: al_c; narses; ThomasMore; Maximilian
they'd be able to catch the double ovulation.

With the symptothermal methods, this is guaranteed. The CCL has hundreds of thousands of chart histories from the last several decades, and if the findings of this new study were an issue, I would know about it from the CCL already. These findings affect NOTHING regarding the practice of the symptothermal methods of NFP. What affects it is couple motivation. So-called NFP failures are 99% NFP foibles, i.e., the couple knew darn well they were taking chances, but to save face they blame it in the method, not their practice of it. I know this from firsthand experience with couples using NFP. When directly questioned, they ALL admit it was NEVER a failure of the method.

21 posted on 07/09/2003 11:27:31 AM PDT by Polycarp (When a mother can kill her own child, what is left of the West to save?" - Mother Theresa)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Maximilian
The data about fraternal twins with different conception dates was fascinating.

Fascinating indeed, but the least credible claim in the entire article. I need a lot more evidence than this Reuters report to begin to give it credence.

22 posted on 07/09/2003 11:29:32 AM PDT by Polycarp (When a mother can kill her own child, what is left of the West to save?" - Mother Theresa)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Maximilian
You may know more about it than I do, but according to this article, the researchers were pretty shocked, and they said that "textbooks would need to be rewritten." This doesn't sound like "old news" to me.

I remember our instructors mentioning it during our NFP class. Hmmm ...

I would like to see a study in which 100 fertile couples start January 1st using NFP. Then count how many are pregnant by December 31st. I would bet the percentage would be quite high. And thank God for that! The one thing that I actually like about NFP is that it doesn't work, thus allowing more babies to be born into the world.

That would be an interesting study. It's been very good for me and my wife and we've been practicing NFP for well over a year. We do so for the first two reasons Brian posted above. For those that practice it just to not have kids, I second your "thank God for that" comment that the percentage would be high. God has a knack for getting His way, doesn't He? ;o)

23 posted on 07/09/2003 11:31:19 AM PDT by al_c
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: Maximilian
I would like to see a study in which 100 fertile couples start January 1st using NFP. Then count how many are pregnant by December 31st. I would bet the percentage would be quite high. And thank God for that! The one thing that I actually like about NFP is that it doesn't work, thus allowing more babies to be born into the world.

See my post 21.

God has His reasons for programming the human physiology so that NFP DOES work, just as this British Medical Journal article proves.

I've seen those reasons in what is, in Mother Teresa's opinion, the "poorest place on earth," the slums of Port Au Prince, Haiti. When the child you conceive is guaranteed to die of disease or starvation, 1) you have a grave reason for recourse to NFP, and 2) a just God would make sure His children had an effective alternative for these grave periods when He also clearly teaches that recourse to artificial methods are intrinsically evil. I've seen a baby dying before my eyes from dehydration from dysentery. I never want to see it again. And I bristle at those who insist a Just God would not provide a reliable natural and knowable means of delaying or spacing pregnancy so that each conceived child has a better chance to live.

24 posted on 07/09/2003 11:37:20 AM PDT by Polycarp (When a mother can kill her own child, what is left of the West to save?" - Mother Theresa)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: Polycarp
And I bristle at those who insist a Just God would not provide a reliable natural and knowable means of delaying or spacing pregnancy so that each conceived child has a better chance to live.

So God was not just until the sympto-thermal method appeared on the scene? His justice was lacking until it was completed by this missing piece of the puzzle? And the billions of humans who lived before the Knaus and Ogino were born, they suffered under God's injustice? Perhaps Onan also should complain against God's injustice, he wouldn't have needed to spill his seed if only Tamar had owned a basal body thermometer?

You get credit at least for an entirely new view of theodicy.

25 posted on 07/09/2003 12:07:56 PM PDT by Maximilian
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Dr. Brian Kopp; rdf
WOnderful! THanks
26 posted on 07/09/2003 1:42:03 PM PDT by Scholastic
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Maximilian
I put the word "success" in quotes because I do not consider it a success when a couple avoids having children.

Love it. You win this week's Chesterton Award for Catholic Irony and Understatement.

I'm very glad my parents were less "successful" and we managed to get a few more wonderful and brilliant siblings, without whom things would have been far less enjoyable. It gave a chance for the older children to learn how to administer diapers, bottles, and baby formula as well.

27 posted on 07/09/2003 1:57:51 PM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Maximilian
Did you read today's article about multiple ovulations during a single month? It looks like there could be more reasons why they "fail" than just "cheating."

Actually, the sympto-thermal method would likely catch this. It would reduce "safe" days for sexual activity to a pretty small amount though. Something like 2-3 days per month, not necessarily in a row.

However, as a former practicioner of NFP, I'm more in agreement with your previous statement that, "I put the word 'success' in quotes because I do not consider it a success when a couple avoids having children."

NFP is too often used as a Catholicized enabler of the contraceptive mindset. Probably safest for all but those in dire need to avoid.

28 posted on 07/09/2003 4:16:03 PM PDT by Snuffington
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Polycarp
"With the symptothermal methods, this is guaranteed."

BBT = symptothermal???
29 posted on 07/09/2003 8:26:30 PM PDT by narses ("The do-it-yourself Mass is ended. Go in peace" Francis Carindal Arinze of Nigeria)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: Polycarp
"And I bristle at those who insist a Just God would not provide a reliable natural and knowable means of delaying or spacing pregnancy so that each conceived child has a better chance to live."

I have trouble with this comment. Innocent life is lost every day and many born will not get a "better" chance than they could have. God's Plan is not entirely subject to human analysis, He is Infinite, we are less than dust motes. I think your experience with death by dysentery (a horrid death) may have colored your view of Divine Providence.
30 posted on 07/09/2003 8:32:48 PM PDT by narses ("The do-it-yourself Mass is ended. Go in peace" Francis Carindal Arinze of Nigeria)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Maximilian; Polycarp
"he warned that any use of periodic continence which was not justified by grave reasons was "a sin against the very nature of married life." "

I assume he is meaning PLANNED periodic continence here.

I can't imagine that he is condemning the continence that comes from running around all day trying to make a living; fetching and carrying your kids to a myriad activities; serving your Church in various capacities; and then being just too knackered to get romantic!!!

In my experience, kids themselves are a pretty efficient contraceptive.
31 posted on 07/10/2003 3:06:41 AM PDT by Tantumergo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: narses
yes
32 posted on 07/10/2003 7:33:50 AM PDT by Polycarp (When a mother can kill her own child, what is left of the West to save?" - Mother Theresa)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: narses
oops, no. BBT=Basal Body Temperature alone. BBT plus observations of fertility signs = Symptothermal methods.
33 posted on 07/10/2003 7:35:26 AM PDT by Polycarp (When a mother can kill her own child, what is left of the West to save?" - Mother Theresa)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: narses
I think your experience with death by dysentery (a horrid death) may have colored your view of Divine Providence.

On the contrary, I think my experience with both third world medical missionary work and first world NFP instruction has illuminated for me just how wrong some extreme traditionalists are when they make blanket condemnations of NFP use. Such an attitude was illustrated by an editorial on www.seattlecatholic.com several months ago, to which I responded with a letter to ed. The subsequence letters to ed there responding to my points illustrated these blanket condemnations of NFP use among extreme traditionalists, and further galvanized my opposition to their wrongheaded condemnation of NFP use, something the Roman Catholic Church declared morally licit for grave circumstances.

There's an old saying, "Don't try to be more Catholic than the Pope." I always found that saying to be annoying, but on this subject it is appropriate.

34 posted on 07/10/2003 7:36:25 AM PDT by Polycarp (When a mother can kill her own child, what is left of the West to save?" - Mother Theresa)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: Maximilian; narses
So God was not just until

If you grasped population demographics and agriculture based economics versus current economics and demographics, you would also grasp why the Holy Spirit guided the Church to this knowledge at this time in history. I know there is no such thing as overpopulation. But I also know there are real concrete circumstances when NFP use is morally licit, and rare circumstances where NFP use verges on a necessity (Catholics in China who will have their baby forcefully aborted.)

NFP is not immoral if used in grave circumstances. I have seen these grave circumstances first hand, both at home and abroad. That is why I bristle at those who condemn NFP use and NFP users, when such are NOT condemned by the Church, if grave circumstances for recourse to NFP exist.

35 posted on 07/10/2003 7:43:45 AM PDT by Polycarp (When a mother can kill her own child, what is left of the West to save?" - Mother Theresa)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: Democratic_Machiavelli
ping
36 posted on 07/10/2003 8:27:53 AM PDT by HarryDunne
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: Polycarp
You misunderstand, I wasn't criticizing NFP, rather your view of Divine Providence. God knows when we will die, how we die is His pleasure, not ours.
37 posted on 07/10/2003 7:47:57 PM PDT by narses ("The do-it-yourself Mass is ended. Go in peace" Francis Carindal Arinze of Nigeria)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: Polycarp; HarryDunne
Interesting.

This would mean the Pill is ineffective as well as except as a post-conception abortion tool.

I'm guessing this new information on ovulation and hormones will not be added to any high school sex ed textbooks. Might frighten the poor teens too much.

38 posted on 07/11/2003 6:59:30 AM PDT by Democratic_Machiavelli
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Dr. Brian Kopp
Interesting stuff. Thanks for posting it.
39 posted on 07/11/2003 7:00:02 AM PDT by Democratic_Machiavelli
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Democratic_Machiavelli
as well as except as

?

40 posted on 07/11/2003 7:45:08 AM PDT by HarryDunne
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: HarryDunne
correction:

...as well, except as...
41 posted on 07/11/2003 7:49:22 AM PDT by Democratic_Machiavelli
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: Maximilian
I'm an unabashed "PROVIDENTIALIST" and I love PROVIDENCE!</looney tunes chicken hawk voice>

Why are you to glorify God? - Because he made me and takes care of me.

What I hate most about NFP is that it requires abstinence when the wife's wondrous libido is at it's glorious peak. The Creator designed the reproduction system to give pleasure and create children. It's pretty marvelous the way it works. It's so much better than the ways that any of the other creatures' work. It's sad that depraved mind seeks ways to foil such a benevolent and ingenious system.

42 posted on 07/14/2003 3:45:47 PM PDT by Theophilus (Save the Democrats - Stop Abortion!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Theophilus
What I hate most about NFP is that it requires abstinence when the wife's wondrous libido is at it's glorious peak.

It does seem almost capriciously cruel that by using NFP, the wife only has sex when she doesn't feel like it, and is not allowed to have sex whenever she actually is in the mood. My own personal observation, is that there are probably subliminal signals that tell the husband when his wife is fertile which stimulates his libido as well. It could be psychological, such as her behaviour when she is experiencing fertility, or it could be physiological, such as scent, etc. In any case, it makes NFP seem not very "natural."

43 posted on 07/14/2003 4:51:17 PM PDT by Maximilian
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

To: Maximilian
In any case, it makes NFP seem not very "natural."

gNostic Family Planning or Noxious Family Planning or Never Family Planning or Neuter Family Planning. The use of the word "Natural" is indeed oxymoronic.

Female physiology is bad for our libidinous and hedonistic Male social karma. Suppress it! Children limit our opportunities for gratification in the future. Let us then limit them!

I denounce libertine pagans who praise families but slash at them with such philosophies. NFP seems to be m*s*u*b*t*o* merely using one's wife's body as it's instrument. Practice Maritial Indulgence!!! Express your love for your wife by celebrating her natural obedience to nature's God by way of her fruitfulness. Have faith in our Father who will certainly provide for us and our children! I'd rather eat beans and rice in a hovel with my babies than dine on fillet mignon in splendor with our good President.

44 posted on 07/14/2003 10:12:22 PM PDT by Theophilus (Save little Democrats - Stop Abortion!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: AppyPappy; Mrs. Don-o

ping


45 posted on 04/25/2013 8:52:23 AM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson