The following comes from a May 1 story on the Christian Post by Chelsen Vicari,
Like it or not, contraception is a twenty-first century moral issue which evangelicals must face.
As many among the Christian Left champion birth control without regard for its harmful effects on women and stand ready to offer over religious liberty in exchange for tax-payer funded contraception, abortifacients, and at times, abortion, it’s time for our faith community to reevaluate alternatives. It’s time evangelicals start talking about Natural Family Planning (NFP).
If you’re like me and never heard NFP uttered in your evangelical circles, then here is an explanation offered by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:
“NFP methods are based on the observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle. No drugs, devices, or surgical procedures are used to avoid pregnancy.”
Before you dismiss NFP as solely “Catholic,” consider what evangelicals have missed: a top-down effort by evangelical church leaders to openly discuss contraception’s physical, social, and spiritual effects as well as why couples have a moral obligation to do their research and avoid potentially abortifacent birth control methods, and mention NFP as a practical option.
Avoiding these tough discussions has left many evangelical men and women I know susceptible to the contraception mentality, which views children as a problem solved with chemical drugs. It also leaves women vulnerable in the hands of a medical community fervently pushing those risky drugs even when totally unnecessary.
I’ll never forget while in graduate school sitting around the dinner table with my evangelical girlfriends, all between the ages of 22-25, who confessed to taking chemical contraception, or more commonly called the Pill. Before you jump to conclusions, know that none of these women had boyfriends, much less were sexually active at the time. I know first-hand that the second a young woman walks into a gynecologist’s office, the doctor starts listing a whole host of reasons -including something as trivial as acne control- as to why we should inhale the Pill. Sexually active or not.
What was disturbing about my friends’ discussion was that it circled around their experiments with numerous birth control brands until finally landing on one that didn’t make their hair fall out, cause them deep depression or result in physical pain.
Within the church, contraception is all my generation knows as approved methods for planning family sizes, or in some cases, clearing teenage acne. But contraception’s so-called “perks” are not outweighing the tremendous risks involved. That’s why evangelicals would do well to include NFP into our vernacular.
I won’t lie. The charting, temperature monitoring and class instruction required for NFP comes across as overwhelming. But with those challenges also come unique benefits.
A married guy friend of mine shared, “When a married Christian couple practices Natural Family Planning (NFP) and the husband shares responsibility for charting, it helps him to know and appreciate his wife’s body a lot more than he may have otherwise.”
The idea of a husband sharing in this responsibility struck me. With all the national talk about tax-payer funded contraception, there is no argument that sounds so sweet to a young woman who hopes one day, Lord willing, to be married and conceive than the idea of sharing in such intimate care.
Perhaps our Catholic neighbors are on to something. Researching a little more, I found that NFP requires a period of abstinence that can range from 5-8 day per month. Catholic married couples have explained to me that this time allows for a husband to re-woo his wife with simple actions, gestures and words of affirmation. Birth control can never come close to offering something so relationally intimate between husband and wife.
Evangelicals are still learning when it comes to contraception. We must continue learning by doing our research and start questioning the status quo. It’s time to start talking about Natural Family Planning.
To read the original story, click here.
NFP charting is the man’s responsibility, along with:
– removing the children from the room while the woman does the checks,
– reminding the woman that it is time for her to do the checks each of those morning,
– assuring the thermometers and everything eke is bought in time, etc.
MAN’s responsibility is huge here…….
Back when I was trying to get pregnant, Jenny, all of the prep was done before hand so that there would be no need for fetching. The man’s responsibility in my experience was best focused on not getting ticked off and/or discouraged with the process involved and abiding by something outside of his own ‘I want’ and ‘Now.’
Not a bad exercise for women either.
Jenny, and others who are not educated on NFP……A woman who charts her fertile and infertile times– charts each evening after “sensing” what happen throughout the day at the vulva—was she was either wet, dry, or sticky…..sorry to get so frank……but people otherwise stay misinformed. The Billings Methold–It’s very easy and effective. It’s amazing to see how beautiful and healthy a woman’s body works when it hasn’t been highjacked by artificial methods. Many husbands become the “charters” because they have an important stake in this information too. Married couples who practice NFP communicate better, have more honeymoons, and are open to much “grace” from Our Lord.
CCC: ” 2370 Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality.
These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom.
In contrast, every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible is intrinsically evil:
Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality. . . .
The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle . . . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality. “
I appears that one of the reasons Evangelicals are now more and more questioning the contraception lifestyle is due to the collaboration of Pro-Life Catholics and Protestants working together to abolish the legalization of abortion. Protestants are beginning to hear the message that a contraceptive mentality is the firm root of abortion. It is not a coincidence that many Evangelical Protestants who become very active in the Pro-Life movement end up joining the Catholic Church! Truth is contagious for those who have not been firmly inoculated against it!!!!!!