The Church’s teaching on artificial birth control is, for many, one of the most challenging and least understood teachings of the Catholic Church. Although it would seem that artificial birth control is easier, simpler, and more effective, many would be surprised to discover the great advantages to choosing Natural Family Planning. According to the Couple to Couple League’s website, NFP is safe, healthy, and green; it is effective; and it builds joyful marriages. It is an all-natural method of regulating pregnancies that is approved by the Church and endorsed by physicians.
Benefits of NFP
Many people believe that organic gardening is more beneficial and healthier than conventional gardening. Growing a garden organically yields healthier vegetables, is better for the environment, and can be therapeutic because of the time and effort put into it. In a sense, NFP can be compared to growing a garden organically. Natural Family Planning, like organic gardening, is 100% natural. It avoids using artificial chemicals, hormones and devices which can be harmful and risky for women who use them. Contrary to popular belief, NFP is surprisingly more effective, and physicians are increasingly recommending it to their patients. For couples hoping to achieve pregnancy, it can be very beneficial by helping them to more accurately identify fertile times. Just as organic gardening is easier on the environment and yields better soil, healthier marriages are nurtured and cultivated through the practice of NFP. It may seem daunting to take on the task of charting and observing periods of abstinence; however, these practices increase healthy communication, foster respect for one another, and deepen the relationships of the married couples who use it. Following the gardening analogy, the time and effort required are worth it in the long run and definitely yield many benefits for the couple.
Some of these benefits which couples experience from utilizing NFP include:
- Increased joy and satisfaction in marriage
- Freedom from guilt
- Better communication between spouses
- More respect for one another
- Stronger family unity
- Health benefits
The decision to use NFP involves an openness to life and a readiness to accept a child, should it be God’s will. The marital act was designed by God to be both unitive and procreative. If we are closed to the possibility of a pregnancy and use artificial means of birth control, we are stifling the procreative function of the marital act and failing to use it as God intended.
We recently observed the anniversary of the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion in our country, along with the March for Life in Washington D.C. Advocating for the unborn, the elderly, and the infirm is paramount to protecting the right to life. This issue is the most important one we face. However, we should also introduce the discussion on contraception and chastity to begin to get to the root of the problem of abortion in our country. The Church’s teaching on contraception has always been the same. According to Fr. Tad Pacholczyk, Director of Education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center, “Contraception can never be prolife. It regularly serves as a gateway to abortion, with abortion functioning as the “backup” to failed contraception for countless women and their partners. Abortion and contraception are two fruits of the same tree, being anti-child and therefore anti-life at the root.” St. John Paul II stated that, “No personal or social circumstances have ever or can ever justify such an [contraceptive] act.” Natural Family Planning is a safe, healthy, and effective alternative to using artificial birth control. For more information on NFP, visit the Couple to Couple League’s website here.