Lisa Baker: Natural family planning is not unreliable
In the recent “Monday Medical” article about “Birth Control Basics,” Dr. Mary Bowman repeated a fallacy that is often repeated among the many physicians who are not educated about natural family planning. She stated that it is “notoriously unreliable.” Dr. Bowman is confusing NFP with the old unscientific “rhythm method.”
Natural family planning is a scientific method of spacing children by using the woman’s natural fertility cues. It honors women’s fertility without treating it as a defect.
Fertility is normal, natural and (dare I say it) a gift. Online courses or local, trained NFP providers teach couples how to track the woman’s fertility by charting cervical mucus, cervix position and temperature. Avoiding pregnancy does require a short period of abstinence depending on the woman’s cycle, but she is infertile for most of the month.
The effectiveness for a couple properly using NFP as a method of spacing or avoiding pregnancies is 99.9%, far better than any hormone or barrier method. Is it me, or is “barrier” not the most unromantic word that conjures images of barricades, cannons and fortresses? NFP is healthy for the couple as it increases communication, romance, respect for her body and appreciation for the power of the creative act.
Can we really call birth control women’s “health” care? Artificial hormone birth control methods are the only prescribed pharmaceuticals that are intended to treat something that is right with the body rather than wrong.
The World Health Organization classifies birth control pills as Class 1 carcinogens, the same category as plutonium. Scientists are still finding long-term health ramifications of birth control pills and implants, which have been known to implant themselves in the uterine wall.
Our society increasingly seeks organic, chemical-free and hormone-free products. Artificial hormones fly in the face of this thinking. NFP is healthy, natural, free and “green.”
Our society is experiencing the fall-out of the sexual revolution that promised consequence-free sex on demand. Just look at the #MeToo generation to see what happens when society no longer honors the tremendous creative power of sex and the beauty of woman’s fertility. Now women are expected to pump chemicals into their bodies to fix something that isn’t broken, and babies are unintended results.
More research into this will reveal how NFP is not “unreliable,” but rather dignified, scientifically accurate and natural. It makes for happier marriages and safeguards women’s dignity. Google “NFP Providers” and see for yourself.
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