NFP is Knowledge, Not Contraception

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Unfortunately, it is my duty to expose and bring to light a nasty little cancer called idiocy that has overtaken many that share my faith, and it rears its head in the form of those who think, nay, preach, that utilizing Natural Family Planning to plan your family is immoral.

If you’re not attuned to the waves of Catholic discussion, Natural Family Planning is a method of child management based upon well-researched systems (supported by members of both clergy and lay people) that study woman’s natural reproductive cycles. It has been shown that a woman will exhibit certain physical signs when she is fertile or infertile, and that these signs can be used to understand a woman’s menstrual cycle and in scheduling sexual intercourse so as to avoid (or achieve) pregnancy. If you just read that sentence and have half a brain, you’re probably saying to yourself, “Hey, Nate, how could anyone ever in the history of everything that ever was or ever will be have a problem with reading the meters God gave you and acting accordingly?”

Although I will call them wrong until I’m blue in the face, I can see what the anti-NFP’ers are aiming towards. They feel that there shouldn’t be anything involved in the sexual union between husband and wife besides husband and wife, and that NFP is somehow cheating the system for selfish means by only engaging in sex when there’s less of a chance of becoming pregnant, effectively making it a kind of birth control. Their argument might hold water if it wasn’t for the basic fact that their argument has no basis in anything at all and is actually an argument in favor of blind ignorance.

If you’re against NFP, you’re solely against the knowledge of your own or your spouse’s body, and that is all. The only tools of NFP are knowledge; namely, the knowledge of a natural process that will continue to function whether you are aware of it or not. If you have sex on a Thursday and, on that Thursday, you or your wife are infertile, you will more than likely not have a child. The outcome does not change depending on whether a woman checked her womanly womb-signs or not. The only thing that is different between the two camps is the knowledge of the cycle.

If you can live with denying a person knowledge of their own body, or a husband knowledge of his wife’s body, a body that he will know in the most intimate way earthly imaginable, then you have problems, bud.

There is another huge hole in the anti-NFP position. The only so-called “contraception” going on in the NFP life style is periodic abstinence. That is literally the only act a couple commits in order to avoid a pregnancy: not getting it on. If the woman’s signs point to fertile, and the couple feels that they cannot support another child at that time, then the couple abstains. It is no more complicated than that.

It seems ridiculous to demand that a couple engage in sex at all times, and that the occasional bout of abstinence in marriage is objectively bad.

Let’s also keep in mind that the Church demands openness to children as a prerequisite to getting married, and only offers NFP as a method of “spacing out children.” It can’t be, and isn’t, used to avoid children indefinitely.

“For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood. Moreover, they should conform their behavior to the objective criteria of morality.”

Basically, if it’s going in, you better be willing to have a kid. You must be generous with your reproductive faculty because, let’s face it, it’s there to have kids. If you’re seriously not open to children at all and are using NFP, you’re doing it wrong, plain and simple. However, I don’t think anyone practicing NFP is that closed off to kids because the method is a pain in the ass. It’s way easier to just slip on a condom and go to town, or take a pill once a day and never deal with the consequences. If you’re going through the time and effort to learn how to read a woman’s natural biological signals, you have to necessarily at least want to do the right thing.

So calm down, anti-NFP’ers. NFP users will probably have a lot of kids, too.

Most of the opponents of NFP quote the clause that states there must be a just reason for delaying children, and then assume that this just reason has to be no less than a volcanic eruption threatening to burn them alive. Basically, they cite the clause and then act like it just says, “Never, ever. In a million years.” It’s ridiculous. No one can determine what “just matter” is in another’s private life except the couple and their priest if they wish for spiritual counseling, and it certainly can’t be determined by some outsider who decides to moralize to others on the internet.

Anyways, I hope this incoherent ramble has at least got you thinking.

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