Sense of Life. Articles in English. Contraception and Natural Family Planning.
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Contraception and Natural Family Planning

People can take one of two positions with regard to their sexuality and fertility: they can accept themselves as they are, their biology, their nature (or ecology), as creatures of God, or they can chose not to accept themselves, and consequently try to improve on nature, which is to say, to improve on God’s handiwork.


In the first instance, people recognize their nature and subscribe to it, that is to say, to the Creator’s concept of themselves. In the second, they develop an “anti-concept” or “contracept” against the Creator’s concept, a supposedly “better” “up-dated” concept, but one that rejects the true nature of the human being. In the second instance, people always lose. Those who think they have somehow tricked or outsmarted nature, who try to profit from what is pleasant, and reject what is inconvenient in God’s plan of love — such people always comes away the losers. Their schemes end up recoiling upon them. And they are the poorer for it.
Now, since we cannot reach people with the statement, “God planned it this way, and it is good for you” – since many young people can’t be reached this way – why not take the ecological tack: “This is healthy. This is natural, and that is unnatural. This is harmful”.
It is not my aim here to go into the whole question of the harmfulness of contraception; this a person can read up on his own. I would, however, like to dwell a bit on the contraceptive mentality. The contraceptive view, then, is the view of the person who seeks to improve on nature as created by God. Compared to the view God intended for us, it is a pitiful one indeed. After all, one would think that by the twenty first century, we had acquired enough knowledge on the subject of human fertility that we would not need to hold it in fear or seek to neutralize it out of fear. Today we are in a position to understand the workings of fertility, and to make the best possible use of it. Here we must stress that in order that the best use be made of natural family planning (NFP) methods, it is extremely important that the husband take part in observing and interpreting his wife’s fertility signs. Where he does this – and this is something that, given his innate, male inquisitiveness, may not only interest but fascinate him – there is great hope that things will go well for that marriage. Things go much less well when the woman is forced to do this on her own, behind the man’s back, so to speak. Some women have no choice but to do this, although, given time, even they may succeed in getting their husbands on board.
Many people fail to see the difference between the contraceptive and the natural approach to fertility. One often hears remarks like the following: “The important thing is not to have children. As to whether we achieve this by natural or artificial (“modern”, “scientific”) means, that’s a secondary concern”. Such statements are based on a complete misunderstanding of what NFP is.
To begin with, NFP is not about not having children. On the contrary, it is about having children – but – at a time when we are ready to welcome them, and as many children as we believe in good faith to be optimal for our family. What’s more, NFP can be very helpful in instances where a couple have difficulty conceiving a child. Natural methods are useful in determining the cause of the problem and choosing the best time for intercourse in order to optimize the chances of conception.
Natural methods are used by those who accept their nature and consider the life of a child to be more important than sexual pleasure. Thus the conjugal act is ordered to its primary purpose – procreation. This does not mean a renunciation of sexual pleasure. Indeed, if anything, the pleasure is even fuller and deeper, for it is both enhanced by the couple’s having to wait for one another, and uninhibited by the fear of incurring a pregnancy. One might say that NFP is “ecological” from a physical, psychological and moral point of view. In none of these three areas is NFP in any way harmful (not even the fiercest opponents of NFP would deny this). Finally, NFP is educational: it engages the reason and the will, fosters self-mastery and taking responsibility for one’s actions – a very important quality in life.
Contraception, on the other hand, is about not having children. The aim of contraception is to sterilize the person or the conjugal act. Our fertility is a source of fear. It is treated as a disease, as something that has to be resisted and destroyed. Thus it represents a rejection of our nature. Contraception is used by the person who does not accept his nature and considers sexual pleasure to be more important than the life of a child. Thus the contracepted act is ordered to its primary purpose – sexual pleasure. The sad thing is that to the extent a person strives to increasing his pleasure, the more superficial and less pleasurable it becomes. This is a consequence of enjoying the sexual act “on demand” (no waiting to enhance mutual attraction) as well of inhibitions resulting from a fear of its fruits – i.e. the possible conception of a child (it is precisely this fear which prompts one to reach for a contraceptive in the first place). One can say that the contraceptive position is “anti-ecological” – physically, psychologically and morally. Every contracepted act is harmful to our physical and psychological well-being. More than that: it aims at the harming of our health, since contraception is disposed toward the destruction of fertility, which constitutes an important element of our health. Indeed, ill-health in this area is a source of enormous anguish to a great many marriages. Thus, if contraception were to be completely harmless to our health (as some tout it to be), it would also have to be completely ineffective. Clearly, then, when supporters of contraception talk about its harmlessness they have in mind its effect upon the health excluding the “area” of fertility. Now a person’s health constitutes an integral whole embracing all aspects of his well-being, including the physical, psychological and spiritual. You cannot affect the health in one area without affecting other areas as well. This should be self-evident even to those without great knowledge in the fields of biology, medicine or psychology.
Finally, contraception is non-educational. It relieves us of the use of our reason and will, of self-discipline and taking responsibility for our actions (its entire effort is limited to the using of the contraceptive, while it is the manufacturer who assumes the responsibility). In effect, the contraceptive position favors the rejection of the conceived child, where the device is seen to have failed. There is a certain logic to this: the couple did not want a child in the first place, they used the device “in good faith”, and the manufacturer carries the “blame”. Why, then, should they be saddled with the
unwanted results? Thus, despite the “pious wishes” of the manufacturers, and their strident claims that contraception results in fewer abortions, reality points in the opposite direction.
Thus, anyone insisting on a comparison between the natural and anti-conception approaches would have to admit that that they are diametrically opposed. The one comparable value is that of effectiveness, and here the latest natural methods turn out to be of slightly higher efficacy than the newest contraceptives. If some find this surprising, or hard to swallow, it only shows how effectively they have been duped by the contraception lobby.
Although we are not interested here in contraceptives as such, I feel duty-bound to say a few words about the abortion-inducing role of certain hormonal agents. Most people are unaware of the fact that in addition to its role as a contraceptive (arresting peristaltic movement in the oviducts), the modern pill acts as an abortifacient (destroys the endometrium during the embryo-reception stage). A woman swallowing such a pill can never know if it has acted as a contraceptive or an abortifacient, and thus she incurs the moral culpability pertaining to an abortion. Of course, such culpability is not incurred by those who have been duped into thinking that they are “merely” crippling their fertility. One may suppose there are many people in this situation.
A chemical preparation called RU 486 also deserves mention. A classic abortifacient, it passes as a contraceptive. It is recommended for use up to the seventh (even the tenth) week of pregnancy. Sometimes it is labeled enigmatically as a “treatment for inducing delayed menstruation”. Its working name is 32486, that is to say it is the 32486th preparation of a certain French pharmaceutical firm. I mention this to highlight the fact that the contraceptive industry is far from being a cottage industry. It is an industry developed on a massive scale. It is also worth recalling how RU 486 first came to life (or rather to death). The fall of 1988 saw a great debate raging in all the media throughout France. All the leading lights of the day, scientists, cultural experts, artists, politicians, and journalists came forward to state their opinions. Many saw RU 486 as the greatest discovery of the twentieth century, as an enormous benefit to mankind, but there were others who saw in its use a hidden and legal genocide on a scale never before seen in the world. Finally, after long and heated discussions, they decided: “We will introduce it, but on a trial basis only, in France only, and only on native French women who have already borne children, and only in hospitals under the strict control of a physician, etc. etc. Ten years later, the abortifacient pill, whether legal or not, was universally available throughout the world. It has since become your standard means of “do-it-yourself” home abortion. Incidentally, among the first decisions made by newly elected President Bill Clinton (in his first term of office) was – along with his taking up of the homosexual cause – the legalization of the RU pill. I mention this only to underscore the power of the lobby conspiring against the life of the unborn child.
Finally, the “latest word” in modern enormities. U.S. law protects the child from the moment its head emerges from the mother’s womb. Ingenious minds thus came up with the following procedure: labor is induced, but in such a way that the child is born feet first. The entire child emerges with the exception of the head, which remains inside the mother. The child is then killed by siphoning out the brain, after which the baby is removed from its mother. All this is quite legal and in accordance with the laws of the land, although, thankfully, the procedure is now being seriously challenged in the courts. In the USA alone, thousands of children die every year as a result of “partial birth abortion”.
The world has strayed into error. It is the logical outcome of man arrogating to himself the right to decide matters of life and death, and to set conditions, upon the meeting of which a human being is granted the right to life.
Jacek Pulikowski
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