You've likely noticed, across the blogosphere, that this has been National Natural Family Planning Awareness Week. I had hoped to post something (several somethings, really) earlier in the week... sed nunc infantulum habemus, et non somnum. Oh well.
Some people would say that having had a baby before our first anniversary automatically disqualifies me from promoting NFP's effectiveness. While I disagree--NFP provides you with information, and it is up to the couple to determine how that information influences their decisions--I'm happy to leave the technical explanations and defenses of the different methods to others in the interest of keeping this post short so that I can hopefully grab a quick nap while the baby is still asleep. If you are interested, CatholicMom.com has an excellent collection of information and resources here.
A guest post on Caffeinated Catholic Momma yesterday about NFP and feminism reminded me of another missed connection, if you will, that has always confused me: NFP and the green/environmentalism movement.
NFP is environmentally-friendly.
When you don't introduce anything artificial into the marital act, there is nothing left over to be discarded. I know, the first rule of the tautology club is the first rule of the tautology club.
- NFP doesn't create litter. There is no latex or polyurethane to be sent to the landfill or to work its way through the water system out to lakes and oceans.
- NFP doesn't contribute to chemical pollution. There are no extraneous hormones to disrupt ecosystems: mounting evidence shows that the surplus of estrogen from hormonal contraceptives is contaminating our water supply. Researchers link the heightened levels of estrogen to consequences ranging from gender mutation in fish to the possibility of an increased risk of prostate cancer and decreased sperm production.
- NFP's environmental impact continues to shrink. With the burgeoning number of websites and apps dedicated to NFP systems, there is an ever-decreasing need for paper in charting fertility cycles.
If you are looking to make healthy lifestyle choices, why would you choose something artificial over something natural?
- NFP is organic. There is nothing artificial going into the woman's body: no chemicals, no hormones, no foreign materials. By not requiring the woman to purchase contraceptives manufactured by pharmaceutical companies, it fits the locavore lifestyle. By not introducing artificial chemicals and hormones into the woman's body, it fits the vegan lifestyle.
- NFP doesn't interfere with the body's hormonal balance. The International Agency for Research on Cancer links estrogen-progesterone hormonal contraceptives, which significantly elevate the woman's levels of these hormones to mimic pregnancy, with increased risk for breast cancer, cervical cancer, and liver tumors.
- NFP allows the woman to understand her body's fertility cycle, rather than suppressing it and treating a normally-functioning reproductive system as a problem.
Whether a woman is trying to live a "green" lifestyle for the sake of the environment or for her health, NFP offers a very viable option, in many ways more in line with her objective than artificial contraception. Why, then, is artificial contraception still the default option for the majority of these women?