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July 18, 2018

By Suzanne Pietropaoli
Director of Natural Family Planning

You are doing your best to go green. You recycle. You drink spring water and eat organic fruit and vegetables. Perhaps you even drive a fuel-efficient car. You are glad to do what you can to help protect the environment. So, in your search for a reliable, healthy, ecological way to plan your family, be sure to take a closer look at Natural Family Planning (NFP).

Among family planning methods, NFP is the one truly green option, precisely because it is built on understanding and respecting creation in its most personal dimension. The couples who choose NFP choose to learn about and cooperate with the gift of their shared fertility, rather than to suppress it with drugs or devices. That choice is not only healthy for them; it is healthy for the environment. By opting to regulate births naturally, NFP users opt not to pollute: no unnecessary drugs or devices in landfills, no toxic chemicals, no endocrine-disrupting compounds added to streams and water supplies, and no group one carcinogenic hormones putting the woman’s health at risk.

What’s that, you say? If the Pill and its hormonal cousins (rods, patches, rings, injectables) could cause cancer, surely it would be big news? In fact, it has been, repeatedly – but never for long. For years researchers have noted the link between combined oral contraceptive pills and the development of breast cancer. In 2005, the World Health Organization classified these pills as “Group One Carcinogens,” a group of substances known to cause cancer in human beings. Other substances in that group include: asbestos, formaldehyde, tobacco smoke, arsenic, and ultraviolet radiation. We are appalled when such dangerous substances appear in the environment but fail to question the safety of the artificial hormones swallowed daily by women and young girls for preventing pregnancy. One Norwegian study (London Daily Mail Online 2/13/2013) offered up some astounding statistics. The findings, presented at a European Breast Cancer Conference in Barcelona, were stark: any woman who has ever taken the Pill is 26 percent more likely to develop breast cancer than a woman who has never taken it. The risk increases with age, and with duration of Pill usage.

In addition to increased cancer risk, the Pill serves up a stunning array of side effects which include blood clots, hypertension, heart attack, stroke, liver tumors and gallbladder disease. [These side effects do appear on the patient inserts for these products. But the print is small and besides, this is just medicine, isn’t it?]

In place of the Pill and other contraceptives, the Church focuses our attention on nature—on the way God made us, on that awesome design that allows us to live in harmony with our fertility. Natural Family Planning educates couples to recognize, record, and interpret the physical signs of fertility to identify the fertile window in each cycle. The couple then uses this knowledge to achieve or to postpone pregnancy. By understanding how the fertility cycle works, couples use a system that is 100% natural, up to 99% effective, and entirely free from harmful side effects. NFP is a lifestyle that has the potential to enrich couple communication, deepen their love, and strengthen their faith and their families.

Modern methods of Natural Family Planning have been developed through more than half a century of scientific research. A variety of methodologies offer real choices for couples wanting to learn and live NFP. From online courses to CycleBeads, from CyclePro Charting software to new apps, NFP is more accessible than ever before. But in any form, it remains the option of choice for couples concerned with respecting nature, one another, and the plan of the Creator.

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