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The Paradox of Crunchy Women and Chemical Birth Control

I like natural lifestyle choices. Unprocessed food keeps the flora and nutrients balanced in your body, natural deodorant steers clear of aluminum toxicity. Glass instead of plastic, essential oils instead of medicine, and grass-fed beef instead of cows that have been pumped with synthetic hormones. The additives that go into processed foods and mainstream brand toiletries can include carcinogens and other toxins that lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, and cancer.

The trade-off is … well, inconvenience and cost. I pay more for hormone-free meat, as well as other organic products. I have damp underarms because, well, there is no such thing as “natural” anti-perspirant. The best we can hope for is no funk.

And every morning, I take my daily dose of synthetic ethinyl estradiol, also known as the birth control pill, a class one carcinogen.

Wait. What?

This sounds absurd. Yet, it is possibly the most common paradox I have seen. Eat the meat of a cow that has consumed synthetic hormones? No! Take them yourself via a highly concentrated white pill? Yes, please, but I can only wash them down with organic juice. Chemical free.

The recent storm against GMOs are enough to make me think that if birth control didn’t fall within the boundaries of “women’s reproductive rights,” it would have been banned long ago. Women would write letters until “Pharma” (birth control makes up a 2.8 billion dollar slice of the pharmaceutical pie) stopped making poison meant to be consumed by unsuspecting women. There is in fact a big label on any birth control, stating its synthetic nature and chemical name, along with its laundry list of side effects: weight gain, breast cancer, depression, blood clots, heart attacks, strokes … oh, and possible death. In fact, as I write this, there are several class action lawsuits against brands of birth control that have been out for years and have been consumed by millions of women. Yazmin and Nuva Ring are great examples of this.

I can now only conclude that natural-minded women taking the birth control pill have weighed the pros and cons carefully and decided that the pros outweigh the cons. For example, some pros: attracting and keeping a boyfriend/husband with the allure of sexual activity, free of the natural consequence of sex, a baby. One can therefore have all the sex she wants, and feed and nurture relationships, without worrying about conceiving. (It is important to note here that there are isolated and fairly rare cases where the birth control pill is used to treat an illness, although this is not the common use to which I am referring.)

So, in that case, does it stand to reason that birth control is truly good for relationships?

Philadelphia’s NBC 10 once dubbed the birth control pill “the divorce pill” because of its dual effect. The first effect is that chemical birth control seems to make women less capable of choosing a compatible mate. Dr. Janet Smith explains the foundation of this claim by citing the “T-Shirt test.” The t-shirt test began by rating men according to their evolutionary desirability (physical attractiveness, diligence, intelligence, high-level job status, financial independence, vs. lower evolutionary desirability, which included tendencies of mental illness, homelessness, lack of motivation, etc.); these men were then given t-shirts to sweat into. Women, without seeing the men who used the t-shirts, were asked to smell the shirts and rate the men. Women who were using chemical contraceptives rated the less desirable men as being more desirable, while the women who were not using chemical contraceptives rated the “good” guys as being most desirable.

This suggests that many women who take chemical contraceptives during their dating years end up choosing an unsuitable spouse for marriage. Several years into the marriage, when the couple decides to have children, the woman stops taking the chemical birth control. She looks at her husband with fresh eyes and wonders what she saw in him while they were dating. This situation could end in divorce, or make a divorce more likely.

The second reason for “the divorce pill” claim is that chemical contraception makes women less attractive to men. Lionel Tiger (yes, that’s his real name) conducted a study on an island inhabited by a tribe of monkeys. He watched the alpha male monkey, whom he referred to as “Austin,” taking note of his sexual choices. Austin chose to mate with three female monkeys exclusively. Tiger injected those three female monkeys with Depro-Provera shot (sound familiar? This is a common birth control shot for women) and watched their further interaction. Austin was no longer interested, ignored his original mates, and mated with the other female monkeys on the island. Tiger then injected all the female monkeys with Depro-Provera and Austin acted in a “confused and turbulent” manner.  When the birth control shot wore off, Austin placidly went back to his original three mates.

The two effects work together to create chaos: Women are chasing the wrong men, while the right men are not attracted to them.

As this question rattled in my mind—why do natural-minded women use chemical birth control?—I started researching. Surely someone had written about it. One blogger at wrote that, while she had reduced her exposure to harmful chemicals in other parts of her life, her birth control just wasn’t something she was willing to give up. The substance of her argument included: Once burned, twice shy …  had a kid at 22 and don’t want that particular consequence to happen again …  Maybe it’s fine for a woman who is married, or in a stable relationship … birth control was really the best choice for a lot of women.

I question her argument, based on the above scientific/cultural research and other studies evincing similarly concerning facts. If taking chemical birth control actually prevents you from selecting good relationships, why take it? Why cloud your own judgment while simultaneously putting your health in jeopardy? Accepting that kind of health burden is just another form of female enslavement, not a “freeing” of one’s body. Women have been duped into giving men sex without commitment, labeling this decision “reproductive rights.”

If you are already married, especially, why not go a natural route? We already know that chemical birth control lowers a woman’s libido, and lowers her husband’s desire as well. Natural family planning (not the rhythm method, okay, people?) has been shown to be every bit as effective as birth control. In some areas of India the birth rate actually approaches zero because of it. It’s cheap to use, requires only knowledge, and can empower women of all socio-economic statuses to take control of their reproduction, not just an unnecessary health risk.

I hope women (who carefully weigh the pros and cons of every other health decision in their lives) will examine the social and individual health threats that hide behind the convenience of chemical birth control. A 2.8 billion dollar industry has worked hard to make the pill seem the simple answer to our problems. As we know from other areas of life, simple conveniences are often the most toxic and destructive: hormone-driven mass produced meat, instant Ramen noodles … and birth control is no exception.


Readers are invited to discuss essays in argumentative and fraternal charity, and are asked to help build up the community of thought and pursuit of truth that Ethika Politika strives to accomplish, which includes correction when necessary. The editors reserve the right to remove comments that do not meet these criteria and/or do not pertain to the subject of the essay.

  • Bill Maniotis


    Thanks so much for this even-handed, thoughtful, and well-researched article. You are exposing the real “War on Women!”

  • Plutology

    excellent, excellent, Chrissy Wing! Post this inside every subway in NYC, please!

  • Charlotte

    At first I was nervous about switching from the pill to Natural Family Planning, but after a couple years of using it, I wouldn’t trust anything else. Bonus: the medical aspect of the Creighton method (Napro) saved my son’s life. I will be forever grateful. Keep speaking up about this life changing and even lifesaving resource.

    • Brandy

      HI, can you tell me where I can get more information of the Natural Family Planning method? I have been married just less than a year and I am experiences some of the bad side effects from my birth control. I got on it originally because of my extreme cramps, is there a way to help these without taking chemical birth control. I have been on chemical birth control for about a year and a half now. It’s also the third time in my life that i’ve been on it.

      • JacetheFace

        Talk with your doctor about the cramps. If he keeps you on the pill, find a Creighton-Billings Clinic in your area. Usually a quick google maps search will pull one up. They can help you with the cramps. The Creighton-Billings method uses mucus to track your cycle. You can also use your temperature. This seems to be a fairly accurate site.

      • Eva

        Read the book: Taking charge of your fertility. Just look it up on amazon. This book gives info on both preventing and achieving pregnancy using NFP.

        • Marquette works

          Marquette natural family planning is an amazingingly easy way to monitor your fertility. It uses the clearblue fertility monitor to help chart your hcg levels. Just google marquette natural family planning.

      • Steph

        I used the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility and then I also use the website (don’t let the name scare you) it’s a great website for tracking and it calculates everything for you so you don’t get mixed up on paper.

      • Anne

        I second whoever said to talk to your doctor about the cramps. You shouldn’t have to suffer that much! I personally have found that an Advil regimen starting a few days *before* my period starts keeps my really bad cramps at bay. From my understanding, primary dysmenorrhea (i.e. cramps without an underlying cause like endometriosis) is caused by elevated levels of prostaglandins (e2), which build up in the days and hours before your menstrual cycle starts. NSAIDS block excess production of prostaglandins. When I was younger, I would take meds but only when the cramps got bad…by then it was too late, and black-outs, nausea, and debilitating pain ensued! Again, I am no doctor, and you should obviously consult with your own about it (first of all to see whether you are dealing with primary or secondary dysmenorrhea). But I will say that simple NSAIDs have worked wonders for me (with my own doctor’s guidance) and eliminated my need for hormonal birth control! Here’s a bit of research on some different treatment methods to get you started:

        • Jo Flemings

          There might be some supplements that can help in similar ways, Curcumin or Tumeric and better potassium and magnesium supplements might also help. But anything you take that is natural needs to be of high quality- from a reputable manufacturer or you are wasting money.

          • Anne

            Yep, yep. I’ve been down that road, but sadly, the (high quality) supplements were not effective enough for me. But I agree that they can be very helpful for some women. Marilyn Shannon’s “Fertility, Cycles, and Nutrition” is a great place to start.

          • Jo Flemings

            Anne, you probably know this already, but keep tabs on your liver function if you take ‘vitamin I’ (that is Army slang for Ibuprofen) (nsaids) a lot- you know they are hard on the liver. They say N Aceyl-cysteine is a good supplement for liver support, but you have to take it with tons of water to protect the kidneys– if it’s not one thing its another, right?!

      • Marie
      • Kathy

        Try essential oils Brandy

      • Jo Flemings

        Brandy you can try a strategy of holistic methods for dealing with hormonal upheavals. Diet, essential oils and then some herbal supplements might really help you- (for essential oils I would look at DO Terra or young living for their stuff) For herbs I would look at Gaia, or Moutain Rose and I would scour the web for resources on diet etc. I think Paleo or epipaleo would be a wise place to start to change your diet to help with this-
        Then talk with your doctors too- but if you just go with their recommendations first you will only put a bandaid on your struggle.

      • Suzanne Francois
  • Adriana Medina

    All I can say is it’s about time. I have been thinking about how hypocritical women are for this type of behavior for years. thank you!

  • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

    I am a family physician. I have taught Natural Family Planning(NFP) for many years. Some women and couples can use the Billings Cervical Mucus Method and the Symptothermal Methods very well. Many women and couples cannot use natural methods for various reasons. Women need other options. As a Catholic, I am saddened that the childless, celibate leaders of the Catholic Church, who have never known an intimate relationship with a woman, want to oppress women by being opposed to all birth control except NFP.
    It is more sad that naive women allow themselves to be intimidated by these men and allow themselves to be oppressed by church teaching which is not from Jesus but from men who want to have power over women. The hormone pills and other methods are widely used and often more effective than NFP. Women must have the right to choose NFP, the birth control pill, or other options. The above article in not true in many regards and is very biased towards NFP. That is the right of the writer and I am happy that she has not gotten pregnant yet while using NFP.

    • NFPgal

      As a Catholic women who uses NFP to both postpone and achieve pregnancy, I am offended by your statements. I am not intimidated by the Catholic Church’s leadership, and being subjected into using only NFP. I used the pill for a few years with disastrous results. My body was sick from the pill (three different types tried and quit). It took my body YEARS to get the artificial hormones out of my body. I swore I would never take contraception again after being so sick, and that there had to be an alternative. This search led me to the Catholic Church because of the teachings on life and family. Years later, after converting and then meeting my husband, we have used NFP successfully. It has helped my husband understand me and what I’m going through hormonally, and helped us have those difficult conversations (why we are abstaining, money, jobs, living situation). The same types of conversations that marriage counselors want you to have on a regular basis.

      Is NFP easy? No. Is it worth the price? Most definitely. Anything worth doing is difficult (medical school).

      • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

        I am happy for you. The truth is that NFP does work for some women and couples. It does not work for others and the church, which should care about everyone, does not care about the couples who cannot use NFP and need another option other than abstinence. The Catholic Church’s leaders lack real-life experience and are only parroting what they are told to parrot and that ignorance is making them look silly and irrelevant to many people who have real-life experience.

        • JS

          I would very much like to know what a couple who cannot use NFP looks like. Because I cannot honestly imagine a couple who cannot use it for any valid reason. (And “can’t control their desires” is definitely not a reason in my book.)
          Also, this comment is particularly troublesome: “I am saddened that the childless, celibate leaders of the Catholic Church, who have never known an intimate relationship with a woman, want to oppress women by being opposed to all birth control except NFP.” First off, those childless, celibate leaders possibly have had intimate relationships (in the manner which you consider “intimate”) prior to the priesthood. Secondly, intimacy is not just about sex. Thirdly, just because they don’t have any children and are not sexing up women, doesn’t mean they can’t and shouldn’t have an opinion. I’m not in the military, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have an opinion about war. I’m not a man, but shouldn’t I care about things like prostate cancer and other man-specific issues?
          NFP does not “oppress” women – it sets us free to be who we truly are and to love and be loved as we were intended to be.

          • Jeddsmom

            I AM ONE OF THOSE WOMEN who can NOT use NFP!! Here I am! ::Waving:: I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). I do not have a “normal” cycle. Not even close! I have gone anywhere from 33 days to 72 days between periods. I have even tried basal body temperatures to “track” my cycles and the chart looks like a spastic roller coaster. “Safe” days? HA.I couldn’t be 99% sure if my life depended on it. My hormones are completely screwed up. Condoms feel like sandpaper. And I have twice the testosterone coursing through my body than most women have.

            SO… the pill was sanity for my self and my husband. We finally did have a darling son. Then my husband got a vasectomy. Now I don’t have to pump fake hormones into my body and I don’t have to worry about anything. There would be NOTHING freeing about NFP for me. It would be a nightmare.

          • Chrissy (not the author)

            I also have PCOS, and have cycles between 35 and 120 days long. My hormones are also completely screwed up. If I didn’t do NFP, I wouldn’t have a clue what’s going on with me. In fact, practicing NFP is why my doctor did the testing to diagnose the PCOS. I (intentionally) conceived my daughter on day 45 of that cycle. Imagine me telling the doctor that I haven’t have a period in 2 months, but I know I conceived just 2 weeks ago! (Early ultrasound to confirm my dates – why yes, thank you!) Perhaps you needed to try another method – I’ve always used Creighton because I didn’t want to get up at the same early time each day to check my temperature, and as a bonus, there are medical professionals who are trained in and understand Creighton charts and what that means for a woman medically (NaProTechnology). But having PCOS does not mean that one can’t practice NFP successfully.

          • M

            So glad you said that, Chrissy! I am in your boat as well. I only thought my cycle was all over the place until I started charting with Creighton. Now I can predict my period to the day regardless of the length of my cycle. NFP was the best thing I’ve ever done for my body. It’s mind-blowing how little we (even trained medical professionals) know about the female body.

          • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

            Thankyou for sharing your story. It is so inappropriate for the pope and hierarchy to impose their views on women. NFP is fine for those who can and choose to use it. God has blessed us with other options as well that would be foolish to ignore. Opposition to birth control is a Catholic hierarchy thing, it is not from Jesus. Women who want to be obedient to a hierarchy known for allowing the rape of children and the protection of rapists, are not being wise, in my view.

          • Roseanne Sullivan

            Nobody is imposing views on women. The Catholic Church kept teaching against contraception when all the denominations gave up telling the truth starting in 1930. It is a sin. If you don’t want babies, don’t have sex. it’s against God’s will. Fertility is not a disease to be prevented. Children are a gift from God.

          • AlbinoWino

            So if children are a gift from God, why are so many crappy people able to conceive and have children the abuse, starve and neglect? Why doesn’t God give children to the good people He favors that are having sexual relations within the confines of a marriage?

          • Mary

            They are not just the “pope’s” views or Catholic views, but HUMAN views. Opposition to artificial birth control is really having respect for people…understanding our bodies and how they were designed. Sex is inherently and biologically unitive and procreative. Artificial birth control blocks both of these, and in turn, harms individuals and relationships. I would suggest you look at what the Catholic Church REALLY says about sex by looking at the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It’s available for free online (specifically paragraphs 2331-2391.) It’s really quite beautiful. And, then, if you want to understand further, look into Pope Saint John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. Please don’t assume you know what the Church teaches without doing some real research. On your second point…Like any other organization or group, those who work for the Church are human, and therefore flawed and sinful. What has happened within the “organization” of the Church in regards to sexual abuse is TERRIBLE and wrong. These abuses were not done by the Catholic Church as a whole, but by human beings. It does NOT condone or support this awful behaviors. The Church has worked and continues to work very hard to prevent these things from ever happening again. Again, people make their own decisions, and there is nothing the Church can do to prevent It’s people from sinning, but It is doing It’s best to protect people from this terrible tragedy.

          • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

            Mary, for many years the popes have ignored the command of Jesus to protect the innocence of children. Both the popes and hierarchy have been the ones who have put policies in the church to cover-up the sexual abuse of the clergy by secrecy and denial of the truth under threat of excommunication. Instead of turning the criminal priests over to the police, the hierarchy keep them in the priesthood, so no one knows who is a sexual predator and who is a good priest. Please go to these websites to learn more about the cover-ups by the pope and hierarchy: snap &
            I have a masters degree in the field of Catholic theology. I am well aware of some of the ignorant teaching of the church, which is meant to have undue power and control over the lives of gullible people. Sadly the church arrogantly uses and abuses its power, as in its ridiculous stand on birth control and on protecting sexual predator priests, brothers, nuns, bishops, cardinals!

          • $22784335

            It is obvious you have an axe to grind and it is unbecoming. Your hatred of the Church is clear. But, you are pushing falsehoods.

          • $22784335

            Did some official protect predators in the past?
            Yes. Unfortunately that was the way abuse was viewed by society decades ago.
            Abuse as viewed as shameful and a moral failing.

            Accordingl, abuse was covered up across society by individuals, by families, by secular
            institutions, and by the Church. And, it was not just the Church that allowed abusers to be shuffled around.

            Experts, at the time, thought abusers could be treated, cured, and returned to work.

            Even worse, the horrific psychological damage that
            was being done to abused children was not properly understood by the experts or society.

            Unfortunately, society (including leaders in the Church) listened to those experts.

            The abuse crisis was a great tragedy, and yes, their were a number of despicable people in the Church who made selfish decisions. But, there were also many people with good intentions who responded as best they could to a problem that was not as well understood as it is today.

            Personally, I would love to see the media dig into the abusr records of other societal institutions with the fervor that they have for the
            Church. I believe all children who were abused deserve justice, not
            just the small minority of children who were abused by priests.

          • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

            The cover-up of clergy sexual abuse/rape of vulnerable children is still happening today. Sadly, it is not a thing of the past. Even more sadly, the hierarchy are still covering up for the sexual predator clergy and protecting them from prison, when they can get away with their lies. Please go to to learn the truth. You are misinformed.

          • ritap

            Why is it when one cannot argue ANY subject, regarding Church teaching, they invariably change the topic–i.e. sexual abuse? Why do people continually site sexual abuse of priests while ignoring the biggest group of abusers–following family members–Public school teachers?

            “Sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests”

          • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

            It is sad that some Catholics prefer to risk more children being raped by priests than making the Catholic hierarchy face the police and prison for their cover-ups. There have been many suicides of victims around the world when they gave up hope of being believed because of the secrecy and denial by the sexual predator clergy, by their superiors, and by the hierarchy. If that is the type of church you want? Fine. If it is possible to clean-up the church, that would be better for the sake of children, in my view.

          • $22784335

            Anti-Catholic bigotry is unbecoming.

            Abuse is a societal problem, not a Catholic problem.

            And, studies have definitively shown that abuse rates for priests are equal to or lower than that of the general population.


          • $22784335

            The pope and the hierarchy are not imposing their views on anyone. Their responsibility is to protect and pass on the moral teaching of the Faith in order to assist the faithful in getting to heaven. They cannot change the teaching, only pass it on. And the teaching is that sex is both unitive and procreative, and that each marital act must be open to life.

          • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

            Anyone with common sense will know that each marital act, if it is to be truly loving, must not be open to life. That is a creation of the Catholic hierarchy to oppress women and couples, it is not from Jesus, who has blessed us with ways to control fertility that are life-giving and unitive for a couple trying to survive and have the number of children that they can afford. Sadly, the childless and celibate hierarchy know nothing of providing for a wife and children. If you still think they have authority to speak about birth control, fine. As a physician, I know that they do not have authority to speak about birth control.

          • ladyalice11

            It seems like your posts are not concerned with helping women but just bashing the Catholic Church!!.

          • ladyalice11

            After reading your profile, I believe you are just an Obama promoter and are using this forum to promote the most pro-abortion president this country has ever had and clearly not an admirer of the Catholic Church.Too bad that women would even listen to your rants on the hierarchy of the Church. They would be better served to talk to good Catholic women who obey the Church’s teachings and have been blessed abundantly by God. They do exist and I personally know many of them!

          • JS

            I’m glad you’ve spoken up! You sound like you’re in the same boat that I was in prior to using NFP, the only difference is that my cycles sometimes went past 90 days and I had migraines. Crazy high testosterone? Spastic roller coaster chart? No discernable patterns? PCOS? Check, check, check, and check! I was there and it sucked to go to doctors and specialists only to have them tell me they didn’t have answers or to just medicate my symptoms. Even my NFP teacher studied my chart and said hmmmm…BUT, the good news is that we were able to figure some things out and, over time, with some practice and by following her suggestion to try out Optivite, my cycles are now NORMAL – for the first time since I started having periods (I’m 32 now). NFP was the ONLY thing that HELPED me and has lead to me such intimate knowledge of my body that even I’m amazed at what it does when I wasn’t paying attention. The doctors and specialists I went to either shrugged and said we don’t know or they medicated me – which didn’t SOLVE any problems, it just sometimes addressed symptoms. I sincerely feel for you, because I’ve there, but I would suggest to you that you give NFP a real shot – try charting for 6 months and reading Fertility Cycles and Nutrition. It’s life changing. I don’t have to medicate every day to be healthy and isn’t that what most, if not all women want?

          • Jeddsmom

            Thank you for your care. I do appreciate it. However, I don’t need to worry about birth control anymore. (Hubby went permanent.) And given our current life-circumstances, I don’t have the emotional energy to give to it anyway. I don’t take pills anymore… I do fairly well with just some progesterone cream during the month and usually cycle btwn 30-38 days. That’s fine for me.

            Our life is very unstable right now. We have no job, no house, no health insurance. Our stuff is in storage, we’re staying with my husband’s parents, and he’s filling out application after application for higher ed music jobs all over the country. Life is complicated. And I am thankful I don’t have to worry about birth control at all these days.

          • Dakeda

            I highly recommend those with hormonal issues to research candida and Plexus natural products. They have helped a lot of people get healthy from the inside out and in turn helped with some woman’s hormonal issues. (Along with a ton of other problems). It’s not guaranteed but when you can have the option to try natural over meds and attack the root of the possible problem inside vs masking it…amazing results could happen:). Helped my body balance and change for the better, all with natural ingredients.
            Want more info or whys, you can email me and I can explain more.

          • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

            I am happy for you that you can use NFP. It is not possible for some women and couples to trust NFP and they have the right before God to use other God-given options such as the birth control pill.

          • guest

            I’M ONE of those women as well. You want to know what it looks like? I have endometriosis and use oral contraceptive as treatment/ a solution that makes the condition bearable. Without them, I am heaving in excruciating pain from endometrial tissue growing and shedding in the wrong places within my body including from within muscle tissue. This is a horribly painful health issue that is relieved only with birth control/hormone therapy. But nooo, you think every woman should just be as DAINTY as your precious princess soul and not use contraceptives. Wake up woman. You’re a royal ignorant jerk. Look at all the women you have offended with your selfish, small-minded and accusations about inexcusably “lustful women” on the pill. And Dr. Rosemary is correct.

          • JS

            Simmer down, cheetah. At no point did I say anything about “lustful women” nor did I say that women can’t/shouldn’t use hormonal contraceptives for medical issues needing treatment. The Catholic Church also recognizes and permits women to use them for medical conditions. My point, and what I said, was that NFP is for everyone. Charting and knowing your body and your cycle is good for every woman – even those that do need to use contraceptives for medical conditions. I would suggest to you, though, that NAPRO technology might do a better job of treating and potentially curing your conditions rather than just putting a bandaid on them to make them manageable. I know several women who have used NAPRO to heal their bodies and to conceive children when other doctors told them it wasn’t a possibility. I never said there was not valid uses for hormonal birth control to be used as medicine. So maybe dial back your anger a degree or two and stop putting words in my mouth, ok?

          • AnnMarie

            Can we discuss what this says to high school and college aged women who are sexually active? You want them to “family plan” and leave it up to chance that they remember a condom when, god forbid, they get drunk and hook up with someone? Speaking from experience, things happen when you drink alcohol that wouldn’t normally happen when you are sober. I am not okay with advocating that girls don’t take birth control because more teen or college pregnancy is definitely not something that we need.

          • Malia

            I will give you my example. I had ovarian cancer. I am Catholic. I used natural family planning. Because of my ovarian cancer, my hormones were incredibly out of wack, my cycle irregular and the one ovary I was spared after life saving surgery unpredictably ovulated. NFP simply doesn’t work for me. Charting helps me predict how irregular my cycle is but, that’s about it.

          • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

            Thankyou, Malia, for sharing your story. For those who find NFP of no use to them, the church offers no other options and that shows how inappropriate and arrogant their position is, as they abuse the rights of women to use what is useful for them.

          • JS

            That’s plain false. The Church does recognize and allow for licit use of hormonal birth control for medical conditions. Because birth control can act as an abortifacient, it is not preferred, but the Church would not demand that a woman to suffer with a condition where medical treatment can help.

          • JS

            Thanks, Malia, for replying. I do believe there are valid medical reasons to use hormonal birth control (as does the Catholic Church), but my point was simply that all women can use NFP to better know their bodies and many/most would benefit from the understanding it can provide.

        • Wim Vanraes

          Well, dear Dr., I see only you parroting the same lines over and over. People here in posts just above this one have asked for specifics, to clarify your claim and give examples of where and how the article was/is wrong. People have given personal witness of how the Catholic Church has done the opposite of their image and appreciation by their husbands because of the Catholic Church and her teaching. Yet you keep ignoring that, and keep repeating the same lines, like a broken record. If that is your modus operandi with your patients, ignoring their input and ignoring the different point of view out of hand, I am glad I am not one of your patients.

          So please, clarify and substantiate your claims, or let this be.

          • Angelique

            That’s what I was thinking, brother.

        • NFPgal

          The Catholic priests I know have lots of experience with helping engaged, married, and divorced couples. I’m not sure how you can claim that they are ignorant to the needs of their parishners, and merely “parrot” Church teaching. If anything, they offer much better advice about relationships since they have much more experience with a wide variety of people and families.

          As for NFP not working for couples, I’d like to see a reference for that fact. There are many forms of NFP, one of which is NaPro which my personal doctor uses to diagnose reproductive problems. Maybe you aren’t familiar with Dr. Hilger’s work, but you can find his successful research here:

          • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

            I am familiar with Tom Hilger’s work. I am glad to hear that you are benefiting from it. Sadly, many do not benefit from it and need other options.

          • hereonearth

            Don’t argue with religious people. They have been trained in it and they won’t stop till they win.

        • I too am deeply offended by your blanket remarks about ‘women’ who are somehow oppressed/ goaded into a practice they would not otherwise choose. Speaking as a very intelligent Roman Catholic mother of eight, whose blessings are spaced 2 to 3 years apart, via NFP and who has studied Pope John Paul II’s Theology of The Body, you are the one who is ignorant….spouting the same anti Catholic rhetoric as Patricia Ireland and Nancy Pelosi. You have some studying to do and I suggest you start with the profound wisdom contained in TOB.

          • JS

            Agreed. Every time I meet with priests (which is often) I am in AWE of their care and compassion for all people. There are a few duds in teh bunch, but by and large the pastoral care I’ve witnessed is amazing. Based on the doctor’s postings elsewhere it’s obvious she’s been hurt by a member of the Church, so perhaps we should try extra hard to be charitable.

          • AlbinoWino

            Does this include the priests who molest children? I’m sure their parishioners loved them too until they discovered that dirty secret.

          • JS

            Priests are not immune to sin and temptation. They are human too. And it is never right for a priest to molest anyone, nor does the Church accept this. It was, is, and always will be wrong. Nobody contests that. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God.

          • Miriam McCue

            OK. But I am a convert to the Church at 20 yrs old. I have had my share of knock-down-drag-out verbal skirmished with priests. I remember my son’s friend in HS asking him, “Why is your mother Screaming at Fr. …?” Well, it was over doctrine. Priests are human like everyone else. I called my son years later & told him that the Pope confirmed my contention that the book the priest was using was heretical. “Christ Among Us”. No one is going to hurt my feelings enough to chase me out of God’s Church. That is why I think people who tell me they “were chased out of the Church by a priest” are crybabies !!.. Call it a character flaw of mine. Call me insensitive. Whatever.

        • Gloria

          Rosemary, and all who have struggled with cycles and NFP: Have you looked into the Creighton and Marquette methods? From what I’ve seen, women who have trouble using Sympto-thermal and Billings tend to prefer Creighton and Marquette. The good thing is all of these can also help uncover underlying problems.

          These two books have helped me some: Taking Charge of Your Fertility, by Toni Weshler, and Fertility, Cycles, and Nutrition, by Marilyn Shannon. Both tend to lean towards sympto-thermal methods, but they contain very useful info about cycles. The Nutrition one would probably help ladies with PCOS or similar issues the most.

    • Name

      If you like Jesus but hate His church so much, why are do you call yourself a Catholic? Being Catholic is more than just not eating meat on Fridays in Lent, part of it is respecting Christ’s decisions on how to set up His church and trusting Him when he said that His Holy Spirit would lead it and the gates of he’ll would never win against it. If you believe that, then it follows that the hierarchy of intelligent, caring men who do a lot of praying, talking with God, and talking with eachother, professionals, and those their decisions affect do in fact represent Jesus and His opinion on the matter.

      TL:D you can’t be Catholic and hate the hierarchy. Go find some nice protestants to kumbaya with over your good feelings. I’ll stay here with the Church Christ founded.

      • Old-timer – The old Oak tree

        HEY we protestants do want such people in our midst (we welcome them to our Church to learn Christs teachings and improve their knowledge).
        PS Christ didn’t found a church, it was founded in His name. PETER founded the Catholic Church.

        • ladycygnus

          “And I say you are ‘Rock’ and upon this Rock I will build my Church.” Sounds like Christ founded the church on Peter to me.

          But an easier way to look at it: if the Catholic Church is wrong, who is right? No two non-Catholic Christian churches agree on all teachings – how can anyone figure out which church teaches truth?

        • Roseanne Sullivan

          Ignorance is bliss, I guess. Do you read the Bible? Or have you discounted it? Christ said to Peter, “You are Peter and on this Rock I will build my Church.”

          • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

            That is what the men who wrote the bible want you to believe that Jesus said those words.

          • Mags

            DrRosemary – now you are downright ridiculous if you don’t believe the bible! Catholic, you are not. I’m not sure you can call yourself a Christian, either! Time to quit.

          • Wanderdust

            Is that loving or even nice? How do we know anyway?

          • Mags

            Wasn’t trying to be loving but I didn’t think it was bad, either and none of your business anyway. You want to participate, then participate but don’t post silly stuff that has nothing to do with the matter at hand. Throughout the whole post, she continually claimed to be Catholic, yet post things like the above that make it quite obvious that she is nothing of the sort. This was the last straw for me. You’re lucky I wasn’t worse…

          • Jude

            Yet again showing that you are not Catholic. Your are in fact a TROLL.

        • Jude

          And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter , and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. (Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram. Aedificabo Ecclesiam meam, Et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversus eam.)

      • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

        Where do you stand in regard to the hierarchy being involved in protecting those among them who rape children worldwide for their own sexual satisfaction?
        Why have the popes and hierarchy ignored the command of Jesus to protect the innocence of children and drown those who take the innocence from children?

        • Roseanne Sullivan

          The priests who abused children were influenced by the psychological establishment, and they used the theories of monsters like Kinsey to justify their predation. No priest abuser is a good priest. No Catholic approves of what they’ve done. The members of the hierarchy who protected abusers were either of three things:1, Implicated themselves and threatened with being outed, 2, gullible believers of the psychological establishment’s line that adult/ child sex was loving and only traumatic when the mother found out and made a stink, 3, naive men who believed that sex abusers could repent and leave off sinning (like any other sinner). My daughter attended a Children’s Theatre in Minneapolis where the director was a MBLA member and bribed boys to come to his parties with his MBLA friends. Nobody damns the whole theatrical establishment because this man was a fiend. The psychological establishment has stopped promoting the normalization of adult child sex in their journals, but I saw articles to that effect in the 80s. People like Kinsey and the Nazi who researched the sexuality of babies on up should make you hate psychologists. How about equal opportunity hating?

          • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

            Sadly, the policies in the Vatican written by popes continue to require secrecy and denial of the truth of clergy sexual abuse. Pope Francis has not changed those policies which ignore the command of Jesus to protect children.

          • Mags

            Please cite which policies you are referring to. I googled it and couldn’t find any. Otherwise, you are just passing on the lies and misinformation the media has fed you and your credibility will be shot.

          • AlbinoWino

            Wow. So the Church monumentally screws up over and over and you blame psychology? Man, those Catholics are indoctrinating harder than I remember. The self delusion is overflowing. The reason people target the Church is because there have been so many countless cases of child sexual abuse and a very distinct pattern of cover up from the Church. They have had to shell out millions in restitution for these crimes and yet you still defend them. Sad.

          • Jude

            And what of the abuse in the public schools, protestant churches, and within families? A previous poster is correct in that the church was handling molestation/abuse the same way it was being handled in the rest of society. People were told that it was just a matter of removing the individual from that particular child, or that they had learned their lesson and wouldn’t do it again. And the same people who are now saying the Church should listen to the psychological establishment on matters of same-sex attraction are the ones who say they don’t buy that the Church was being advised by psychiatrists and psychologists when this was going on.
            Understand this: EVIL PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS FIND A WAY TO TARGET GOOD PEOPLE. And that includes worming their way into positions of trust.

        • Marissa

          And suddenly all of your comments make sense

        • Mags

          What happened to all those children is inexcusable and considering the moral position these men held, even more so. But let’s put this into perspective, shall we? “Probable reality: The vast majority of Roman Catholic clergy are celibate. A few are married, having entered the Catholic priesthood after having been ordained in another Christian group. A very few are discretely engaged in sexual behavior with other single adults. There is general agreement that only a few percentage of the clergy actually abuse children sexually. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released a national study in 2004-FEB. It concluded that about 4% of all U.S. priests since 1950 have been accused of sexual abuse of children.” From:
          So, throw the baby out with the bath water?

          • Jude

            And note that number is “accused,” not convicted.

        • Gloria

          Rosemary, I personally know many people who have been molested and/or raped. All of the aggressors were either A.) relatives or B.) acquaintances, including public school teachers. NONE of them were priests, pastors, monks, nuns, clergy of any kind. In the same city, I have heard of 1 case where a priest made a young man/teen his “lover”, and that happened sometime in the 70’s-early 90’s.

          As someone mentioned in farther down the thread, back then it was believed that sex offenders/child molesters could be rehabilitated and “cured”.

          Last, it sounds as if you’ve got a lot of antagonism toward the whole Church for the sins of some members…who were not living out the Faith as they should have. Be angry about the abuse. But, do you apply that same condemning brushstroke that you use towards the whole Church to the public school system? It’s been the crime scene of many inappropriate sexual behavior toward students. And if I recall, it’s common practice to “move the trash” around, send the offending teacher/coach to another school instead of outright firing them. How many people knew something about Sandusky before his crimes were revealed to the public? Do you hate coaches now? How do you feel about families? Most child sexual abuse happens at the hands of a family member or family friend, both in absolute numbers and percentages. And from the stories I’ve been told personally from victims, the abusers are often closely protected by the families, or shunned but never reported to the police.

          • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

            Sadly, I have met many who have been sexually abused by priests & religious brothers, especially as children. It is hard for victims to speak about the feelings of guilt and shame that they have. Some commit suicide when they give up hope that they will be believed, because of the denial of the truth by the predator, by his superiors, and by the hierarchy, who we have ignorantly trusted to be telling the truth. Recently it was found that at least 50 boys & young men have committed suicide in a small area of Australia after they were raped by their priest and brother teachers and the betrayal of trust was too much for them to bear. The church in Australia is being forced to face the truth of its cover-ups and abuses. But sadly, Pope Francis has protected Cardinal Pell by bringing him to Rome, like the church is protecting Cardinal Law from Boston in Rome as an award for covering-up for the rapes by priests of children in Boston. The church is in a sad state and children remain at risk for rape by priests.

          • Mags

            BTW, I searched for some information on what you report – ” 50 boys & young men have committed suicide in a small area of Australia after they were raped by their priest and brother teachers…”. I found sporadic reports, none from any reliable sources. Again, you are taking this and enflaming them to make your point. Children remain at risk for rape at school and at home at far larger percentages than at church, but that doesn’t suit your purposes. I think you need to do some research and possibly seek some profession help regarding this hatred toward a church you claim to still belong to, even though you obviously can’t stand it. I wish you well and pray you find peace.

          • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

            You are free to believe what you want. It is sad that there are Catholics who care more about defending rapist priests and the cardinals and bishops that protect them from prison, than they care about protecting their own children from rape by predator priests. The information about the 50 plus suicides of boys raped by priests & brothers in a small area of Australia is now being hidden by the Catholic Church since the new Prime Minister is a buddy of Cardinal Pell and the church has power and control, so it is hard to find the truth anymore. Secrecy and lies have been the policies of the church for a long time in regard to the issue of clergy sexual abuse.

          • Jude

            How about you enlighten me as to how I am not protecting my children from being raped by a predator priest? What about parents who send their children to public schools? Are they not protecting their children from being raped by teachers? And coaches? And scout leaders? And family members? Familiarize yourself with the term “target-rich environment.” Secrecy and lies are the policies of the world, not the Church. Yes people within the Church sinned. And even one incidence of molestation or rape was too much. But people like you will never be happy until everything is destroyed rather than admitting that new policies are in place. An aircraft carrier doesn’t turn on a dime. You withhold the same forgiveness that you would demand for yourself.

    • Theotokos

      If you are really Catholic, then you have your head in the sand. What a tired 1960’s line about “celibate men oppressing women”. I guess you haven’t read Humanae Vitae, Theology of the Body, The Catholic Catechism or the Bible. Stop regurgitating lies and educate yourself, believe in the true worth of women.
      And as a physician there is a lot of research about the effectiveness of NFP… read more than the Planned Parenthood pamphlets.

      • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

        If you are happy using NFP, I am happy for you. Many cannot use NFP and are unnecessarily upset by an ignorant hierarchy who have no right to get between a woman and her physician.

        • Conservative Catholic

          And pray tell, Ms. Physician. YOU should be able to get between a soul and her GOD?? What arrogance. You are NOT Catholic.

          • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

            Arrogance is when a celibate hierarchy of men tell women that they cannot control their fertility by the means that a good God has made available for women.
            Arrogance is when the hierarchy cover-up for their sexual predator clergy, who go on to rape more children, with no need to be accountable because they feel privileged and above the law.
            I do not think that many in the hierarchy are Catholic, as they ignore the command of Jesus to protect the innocence of children and they have no trouble lying to get their way.

          • Jude

            Well I think we all knew it was just a matter of time until the pseudo-Catholic played the pedophilia card. But we would have to go back and measure the number of inches of lines of comments to see if we have hit a record. Because remember, whenever discussing anything regarding the Catholic Church, it is quite necessary to bring in the sex abuse scandals , no matter how irrelevant to the topic. It has become the “Well, your mother is fat!” of the combox argument world. I think that the solution to all sex abuse scandals everywhere (public schools, Protestant faith communities, scouting, youth sports leagues, and within families) is that we stop enforcing the celibacy rule that all of these people who ever committed pedophilia were living by. And that will just about fix the problem. Sure is a good thing that no woman anywhere has ever committed pedophilia, or else we might have to deal with that too. Oh, wait… Or maybe we could figure out that sick individuals are going to work their way into positions of authority that give them a target-rich environment. I had one family member sexually molested within the Church, and several sexually molested outside of the Church. In all cases it was swept under the rug and the law authorities were never consulted. Because that is how society handled these things until roughly the last twenty years, as ugly as that might be to confront.

          • Gloria

            And many people *still* try and sweep these things under the rugs. It’s ridiculous how many people I know who’ve been abused by their family members, or date-raped, and the abuser is never so much as named to the police. 🙁

        • Erin

          Will you please tell us some specific examples of couples being unable to use NFP? Your position is not holdkng any credibility because you are not backing it with any evidence.

          • Jeddsmom

            See my reply farther up! No NPF for me…

          • Nancy

            I can’t use NFP. I have PCOS and even if I used it to not get pregnant, NFP doesn’t stop giant cysts from forming on my ovaries, which eventually burst, and is incredibly painful. I’m not going to live with that when I can take the pill. Have all of you crunchy people not seen the studies on the negative impacts of technology? Run before you get brain cancer, macular degeneration, migraines, etc!!!! Oh wait, I bet you won’t, because your “everyone must be like us or they’re a slave to big pharma club” wouldn’t be as fun, right?

          • JS

            I too had PCOS, had cysts, had excruiciating painful periods and cycles that looked like rollercoasters. I know how much it sucks. I went to doctors and specialists to try to work things out and they only wanted to put me on various drugs. NFP was the one things that actually helped and CURED me and I know many women in the same boat who have also used NFP to heal their bodies and take control over their fertility. I highly suggest NAPRO technology to address your medical condition rather than just medicating away symptoms.

        • jddimi

          I am a Catholic woman that had endometriosis which I had surgery to remove and then was put on birthcontrol everyday for 10 years. Once I was married I went off the bc and was able to conceive immediately. After my daughter was born my well meaning woman Dr. like you advised that I get a depo-provera shot while nursing my daughter. She tried to tell me nursing alone wasn’t good enough protection. I then proceeded to bleed for the next 3 months from the side effects. My milk supply dropped drastically after having to take Estrogen to stop the bleeding. I had to rent a breastpump to get my milk supply back up. My daughter refused to nurse anymore after having bottles too often. After weaning her at 10 months I went back on the pill. This time my body didn’t like it and grew tumors in my breast. I went off the pill and they disappeared within 3 days. A couple months later I conceived while trying. But lost the baby at 15 weeks. 3 months later I conceived again. This time I went natural and nursed successfully for a year with no periods for 8 months. I learned the sympto-thermal method of NFP thru my Catholic church and was liberated. My and my husband’s intimacy and overall relationship improved immensely due to our frequent discussions because of NFP. I did have 2 separate rounds of Lupron but managed with NFP for 10 years even through menopause. No couple even with irregular cycles such as going through menopause can’t handle NFP. They just need to pray and offer up the difficulties as sacrifices. My children have witnessed that we can abstain even 6 weeks in marriage if need be, then they can abstain before marriage. God is good and gave us our infertile times of the month if you really don’t want or can’t have a baby now. My fertility was not the illness to be treated and many Doctors such as yourself are misinformed about what these chemical hormones are really doing to our bodies. I just hope I don’t end up with cancer from taking them so long. So I don’t believe there are couples that can’t use NFP, they and you have bought into the cultural view that they shouldn’t have to abstain.

          • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

            I am glad that you have been happy using NFP. Each woman has her story and many women cannot use NFP. It is wrong for anyone to force their views on others, as the childless, celibate hierarchy want to force their views on all women.

          • Erin

            Nobody is being forced to be Catholic!

            The point of this article is that we look to natural solutions for so many things now – why not a natural look at our fertility, and trying natural means to address any reproductive health issues we may have?
            As a woman, I find it demeaning that doctors tell me that I should take a carcinogen to alter my normal functioning body in order to give men sex without consequence of reproducing. Note I don’t say that doctors are “forcing” their views on me, though. I don’t have to do what they say, and women don’t have to follow the Church’s teachings if they don’t want. These teachings are according to Natural Law and are for our good, but nobody is forced to follow them.

          • TDeg

            Dr can you tell me how a celibate hierarchy has forced their views on anyone? The Church teaches what she teaches and each person (Catholic or otherwise) has the choice to live in accordance with that teaching or not. Are you saying you’ve seen priests who have literally taken away birth control from women? Surely what you actually mean is not that they “force their views” but rather you “disagree strongly” with their views and want them to stop teaching them. With your reasoning I could claim you are trying to “force your view on others” right now by simply stating it. The Church simply states her views and it just happens to be a view that you do not like. I presume you also don’t like the fact that the Catholic Church claims to have the authority to make judgments on matters of faith and morals. You keep bringing up the fact that the Catholic hierarchy has sinned in the past. I don’t disagree with you there, in fact the very first pope, St. Peter, abandoned Jesus at his most desperate hour. I think you are confusing the personal sins of particular heirarchy (which by the way is a tiny percentage of all ordained clergy when talking about the sexual abuse scandal) with the authority given to the Church to teach on faith and morals. If Christ intended to only use “sinless” men to lead his Church, he would never had told St. Peter to “feed my sheep.”

        • Becky

          No one is forced to be Catholic. It is a choice. Just like being Vegan. No one is making a vegan be a vegan, that is a personal choice that some one makes for themselves. But if as a self-proclaimed vegan you go out and eat a cheeseburger every Tuesday and wear a fur coat on Friday night because it makes you feel pretty then you aren’t really a vegan. Being a catholic comes with certain sacrifices yes, but its a choice we make. If you don’t like the teachings choose a different religion to follow. The priests don’t tell us women what to do to have power over us any more than the instruction manuals to our gadgets do. Catholic teaching is for our souls like a healthy diet is for our bodies. You may not like not eating what you want, when you want, but you do it because it is the healthy choice and you want to be strong, healthy and around for as long as possible. That is why we have the Church- to help us live out God’s will so that we can get to Heaven and so that we can be good to our neighbors. Being a man I am actually irritated that you would come here and act like you speak for women. I have no problem with Priests suggesting to me that birth control pills are not what God wants for me. Ultimately I make the choice to follow church teaching and trust in God and not the easy, convenient and popular view of men who are not inspired by the Holy Spirit like you. Honestly, last time I checked the Priests are not coming into homes removing birth control pills and beating the women who take them. They are simply relaying the message and its up to us whether or not we follow. Of course the consequences of our decisions are ours to deal with , Good or bad.

          • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

            Being a man, you have no idea what a woman has to go through in life!

        • Jude

          Oh, so now they are “ignorant hierarchy.” The church proposes, she does not impose. No one is forced to stay. Sorry if the Church tweaked your conscience and you can’t deal with the cognitive dissonance, but we don’t have to bend our faith to the lies of this society.

    • MaryU

      I am disappointed that as a physician you choose to prescribe a drug to women that is a known carcinogen (first do no harm). As a Catholic I am saddened to see that you still identify yourself as Catholic when you clearly do not understand Church teaching, and openly dissent against it.

    • Mags

      As a catholic woman, I have NEVER felt oppressed by anything the Catholic Church teaches. The Catholic church is one of the most beautiful, yet misunderstood religions on the planet. I challenge you to take a closer look at our religion. You will not find oppression but freedom – freedom to live a beautiful, wonderful, love-filled life. No, I’m not brainwashed – just educated. Take a look. Go ahead. I dare you.
      Also, in your post, you state that the article is not true in many regards. Curious what parts you claim are not true.

      • JS

        I want to echo these sentiments and to add that within the Catholic Church is where I feel MOST valued, loved, and respected. Nowhere else can a woman find a culture that wants her to be uplifted to her greatest self, protects her dignity, and empowers her to know herself rather than medicating away one of her most unique and amazing faculties.

        • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

          I am happy for you. Not all women have the same experience.

          • Mags

            Happy for what? Your response makes no sense. It seems to me that you may have had the same experience many of us had with the Catholic Church growing up in the ’60’s, ’70’s and ’80’s. But rather than generalize my faith, I studied my faith. I chose to find the truth about my church rather than give in to the lies that abound out there. If you are truly Catholic and want to stay Catholic, then study our beautiful religion that outdates all these worldly ideas.

    • NFPmother

      I see from most of your 900+ comments that this is just one of many comments where you call yourself a Catholic and then denigrate the Papacy and the teachings of the Magisterium.

      • AlbinoWino

        Yup. And 99% of Catholic women use birth control. I guess all the ladies of the Church are denigrating the Papacy. Whooo!

        • Mags

          If you are going to quote statistics, back them up. Even though I already know what (unreliable) source you are quoting, please cite a source.

          • AlbinoWino

            True, the statistic is somewhat misleading in that it more refers to Catholic women who have at some point used a contraceptive method other than NFP. So they are not necessarily still using a form of contraception.

            You may be disappointed to know, however, in a Gallup poll the overwhelming majority of Catholics agree using birth control is morally acceptable:

          • Mags

            Only disappointed that you continue to use useless surveys. The Gallup poll mentioned surveyed 1024 adults. How about a survey of practicing Catholics, not Catholics like DrRosemary

          • AlbinoWino

            So where are any of your own statistics? I’m sure when they do polls, they ask people’s religion. They don’t ask if they practice a fundamentalist form of Catholicism. Those ones are a more dying breed in the US. That’s what gets me about you Christians. You claim to preach love and acceptance but really there’s this pecking order of who gets to be the most exalted Catholics and who are the fakers. Of course, everyone is always convinced they’re practicing the right way and their way has to be superior. The other Catholics are just not Catholic enough. I’m sure Jesus would be proud. The reality is that maybe Catholics need to go back to making tons of babies because a portion of those babies simply aren’t going to remain Catholic as they age. You are and will continue to lose followers. Welcome to 2014.

          • Mags

            I never quoted statistics so not sure what you are asking for there. This whole thread was started on the premise of DrRosemary saying she is a Catholic yet not believing anything the Catholic church teaches. Spreading misinformation; denigrating the church she professes to belong to; repeating half-truths and lies – that is what we are calling her out on. If you were at a job and made those claims – company policies made by men who don’t know what their talking about – I would recommend the same thing: quit or learn more about the policies and how they came about (educate yourself). Why stay at a job (or religion) that you can’t stand anything they do, say or stand for? But to stay at that job and continue to bad-mouth it is not only pointless, but mean and vindictive, not to mention stressful. Now, if you believe in what the employer (religion) is trying to do, that is not the way to change minds and hearts. Both you and the Dr need to find peace within yourselves and peace with your religion – either by staying or educating. I just want you to stop spreading lies and misinformation. As for your claim about the pecking order, there is none except that which you choose to make up. I am no better Catholic then the next person but I will not allow my church to be misrepresented by anyone or anything that spreads those lies and misrepresentations. All are entitled to their own opinion but DrRosemary said policies and she has yet to respond to my request for which ones she was referring to. She claimed facts but it was just that – her opinion. I wish both of you would do a little research into the Catholic church and that you both find peace, no matter what you find.

          • AlbinoWino

            The fact of the matter is I don’t have a religion. I asked for statistics because you criticize mine and yet you have none of your own. Because of that I have to assume that all of your knowledge on the matter is on a whim and whatever you want to believe to be true. You go through this whole analogy of religion and a company to prove a point about correctly following a religion and then completely contradict yourself by saying that you are not a better Catholic than the next person. After outlining how a Catholic has to follow all of the proper rules of the church to be able to call themselves a Catholic. Is that what religion should aim to be then? People mindlessly following and not daring to question portions of it and even, God forbid, deviating from some of the rules/beliefs? People are never going to all be identical so how can a religion expect this of their followers? Judging by how family size has greatly been reduced just in the last 30 years should prove that people of all faiths prefer to practice contraception in many forms. I do have peace. I don’t believe in God, I don’t worry about hell, I focus on being a good person. I don’t let any one person or institution come in and tell me what to think or believe. For me, that is the most empowering thing of all.

          • Mags

            Reread my posts and yours. As for you having peace, I have some doubts. Trolls usually don’t have much peace unless it is a peace that comes from denigrating people and their faith. And so, we’re done. Good luck.

          • Gloria

            I’ve seen at least one poll where they broke it down farther by Mass attendance. The ones who attended mass every week were much less likely to be using contraception (for contraceptive purposes, I’m assuming, since use for therapeutic reasons would likely keep the same rates across the board.) The ones who attended Mass once a month or 1-2 times a year were the most likely to use contraception. Attending Mass on Holy Days of Obligation is considered mandatory, and Sundays are days of obligation (Saturday Vigil Mass counts toward it). If someone won’t follow this basic teaching, why would they follow teaching about contracepting?

          • AlbinoWino

            So where is this poll? Again, you’re just proving my point that there really is this pecking order with religion. You’re judging a person’s faith by how to the letter they follow church rules and how often they go to church. You could do all these things and still manage to be a crap person. This is one of the primary reasons I abandoned religion years ago. I think it can have good attributes but it becomes too much about control, rules, and judgement. You’re more concerned with making sure women do the right things with their reproductive organs as dictated by a bunch of male virgins than actually doing any good. I don’t think Jesus ever outlined his feelings on birth control and abortion. Or homosexuality, for that matter. It’s just left up to interpretation by a bunch of dudes you just assume must be holy and have the right idea. It’s madness, really.

          • Gloria

            I think this is the one. Memory’s a bit fuzzy since it’s been a couple years since last checking: It’s not broken down as much as I remember, so there’s a chance it’s not the same one, but still, look closely at the percentages across issues, and maybe you’ll see a certain pattern….

            I wouldn’t call it a “pecking order” so much as various degrees of practice/faithfulness. You can say you’re vegan, but if you’re eating angus burgers every weekend and pork bacon every morning, it’s not going to fly very well, know what I mean? It doesn’t mesh. Same thing with Catholicism. You can’t go around sacrificing goats to Satan, promoting abortion, setting homeless people on fire, that sort of thing, and then say “but I’m Catholic!” and not get weird looks and serious doubt from people. 🙂 Some things are CORE and INTEGRAL to the ethics/belief system. No, I’m not determining a person’s faith solely by whether they follow the rules on contraception, yada yada, but these are things that we can quantify more easily than, say, internal selfishness, envy, pride, lack of love. It’s a way to put your finger on the pulse. And just because it’s an external action doesn’t mean it’s automatically good, morally speaking, just because the person has good intentions. You know how some people beat up someone they love? The beatings still aren’t okay, even though they’re done “because of love”.

          • Jude

            Yes, funny that I do not know a single Catholic woman that has ever been polled on this and yet I know many are following Church teaching and leading happy lives.

      • Wanderdust

        Sheesh everyone leave the poor doctor alone. God is our only judge and we can show more mercy in His name! And she is spot on that abuse of children (yes, including abortion) is the worst we can do. Follow your conscience but disputable matters can be left up to God.

        • ladycygnus

          To call oneself a Catholic while simultaneously disagreeing with fundamental teachings of the Catholic Church is like calling oneself a vegan while eating a cheeseburger.

          Only God can judge her soul – whether or not she is fully aware or fully culpable of this lie is between her and God. But we can certainly call out the lie in the hope she learns the truth.

        • Jude

          No. When she presents herself as a Catholic and then gives out this advice it is causing scandal. We are not judging her soul, but we can admonish her and point out that what she is doing goes against her supposed faith.

    • Wanderdust

      This makes sense to me, although I think the litmus test as to whether this is about philosophical power or a true practical concern for women, would be would they allow married couples to use condoms? if not, they are not allowing women to have many options (whereas God gives people many choices in daily life from what color they wear to their career, to what they eat, where they live, etc, just as there was only one fruit tree off limits). If they exclude condoms and even other methods it would seem to be adding to scripture or making a whole doctrine based on one verse “be fruitful and multiply”; and having even one child could be multiplying yourself, or it could have applied to the human race in general. I do think women should be very concerned what hormones they put in their bodies; however, the choice should be left up to them.

      • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

        Sadly, the childless, celibate male hierarchy in the Catholic Church refuse to give women and couples any options but NFP or abstinence. Most Catholic women wisely ignore the hierarchy and do what they have to do to control their fertility.

    • Karen Barrett

      This line “and I am happy that she has not gotten pregnant yet while using NFP” shows that you do not understand NFP. Natural Family Planning is not something you do to forget that sex makes babies and to have lots of casual sex with no babies as a result. NFP is used by people who think babies are blessings not burdens. It can be used to space children or delay pregnancy if there is a serious reason to. The way you throw around the word “oppressed” is so wrong. Sounds more like you’re just regurgitating the line of the day. Oppressed women are forced to leave their baby for 8 hours a day. Oppressed women are controlled during childbirth and have their babies ripped from their bodies through their abdomens. Oppressed women are those who have been lead to believe that killing their own child will make them happy.

      • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

        Karen, if you think C-sections are done by doctors when there is no risk to the mother and baby, then you are really misinformed.

        • Jude

          Well that is a b.s. answer. There are plenty of doctors scheduling c-sections out of convenience, including working around their scheduled vacations or weekends. My niece recently had one. Her doctor had two patients in labor at once. The nurse told her family members that it is standard practice for this doctor to do a c-section on one and deliver the other vaginally to make the “best” use of his time.

    • Dr Jen

      If you teach NFP, then you should know that NFP can be used under any circumstance. FAM- Fertility Awareness methods are highly effective, and can be as effective as hormonal contraceptives without the adverse consequences. Non-Catholics as well as Catholic are thrilled to learn about and practice NFP. As a woman who has used NFP and promotes it in my medical practice, my experience is that women are empowered, not oppressed. Seems to me, and it is sad, that your comments are clouded by disdain for the “childless, celibate leaders” and the Catholic church. Check your motives.

      • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

        I am well aware that the teaching of NFP says that it can be used under any circumstance. In reality that is not true for the woman who needs more certainty of avoiding a pregnancy at all costs. Theory is one thing, reality is another. The church does not help the woman and couple who cannot use NFP for various reasons. It is not appropriate for anyone to tell a woman what she must do. That is a decision that she must make herself, as she assesses her individual circumstances. It is not the role of the church, nor of celibate men, to tell women what they cannot do in an intimate relationship. Women who are happy using NFP cannot assume that every women would be happy using NFP.

        • Arden Abeille

          If a woman needs to “avoid pregnancy at all costs,” then she MUST NOT use chemical contraception and continue having intercourse. Hormonal contraception has a far higher failure rate than NFP (see my previous post).
          As for the old chestnut about “celibate men” not being able to wisely advise a woman, I’ll borrow again from Matt Fradd and say, “You don’t have to be a horse to be a veterinarian.”

      • AMV

        Very well said, Dr Jen!

    • ladycygnus

      You want to know what’s oppressing to women?
      – going to the doctor for cramps and being told that you can go on the pill for the rest of your life to “control them”
      – having a doctor ignore your statement about not wanting to take BC and handing you a prescription anyway “just in case you change your mind”
      – having a doctor prescribe the pill to “cure acne”
      – said doctor not go over the potential side effects
      – having severe cycle issues and being told your only option is chemical sterilization
      – finding out they tested a birth control for men and stopped when “shrinkage” occurred; however when women died in the pill tests it was full steam ahead.
      – having a boyfriend pressure you into sex because it’s what women are supposed to do – they have BC after all
      – having a boyfriend manipulate you into taking the pill
      – being made to feel a failure when BC fails and your body works
      – having practically every man expect sex by at *least* the 6th date and sexual favors by the 2nd or 3rd.
      – being seen as sexually-repressed for taking the healthy option of waiting to have sex till after marriage
      – being told that the pill is important enough to be paid in full, but actual life-saving medication you got to pay for yourself
      – being told you are not good enough as you are, but that you much be chemically altered to be “successful”

      You know what’s NOT oppression?
      – finding out that my body is amazing
      – learning that God is love and he is loving me into being
      – that when my body is healthy it is fertile
      – that there are people seeking to HEAL women
      – that my body makes sense
      – that my body can be healed
      – that I’m able to say no to demands for sexual favors
      – that I don’t need to chemically break my body to be loved
      – that I don’t need to be sexually available to succeed
      – that I’m worth a lifetime of commitment

      That God loves us so much he gave us a Church to teach us these truths. A Church that would last by God’s grace for 2000+ years and which will continue to last, despite some of the most evil men being in charge. God will not allow the leaders of this church to sell out and teach a falsehood – He didn’t during the era of popes who murdered previous popes, and he won’t during this era of bishops putting public image over the wellbeing of children.

      • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

        It is clear that you have an attitude against the pill. That is your right. There are women who do find that the pill gives them the freedom that possibly NFP gives you, to be happy and in control of your fertility in a way that you desire.

        • Mags

          You do know that the World Health Organization named birth control pills a Group 1 Carcinogen, a category that includes radiation and cigarettes, right? Heck yeah, we’ve go something against the pill!

        • Jude

          As mentioned above: “finding out they tested a birth control for men and stopped when “shrinkage” occurred; however when women died in the pill tests it was full steam ahead.” Just how bad would the side effects and consequences of the Pill have to be before doctors stopped prescribing them?

          • Gloria

            I have a friend who can be classified as someone who needed the Pill. Her PCOS had become so severe, she was anemic and in danger of the cysts causing injury. The doctor, who was the only one to correctly diagnose her textbook PCOS, put her on the pills as a TEMPORARY measure I understand. They pretty much were a last resort. And man, was she glad to finally be off them! Never have I seen someone through such emotional mood swings as when she went on the pills. 🙁

      • AlbinoWino

        Not all women who choose to have sex outside of marriage are oppressed. Sexuality means different things to different people. Women should be allowed to be sexual beings just as much as men are. The man I will marry waited until marriage and regrets it because he ended up with someone who was very sexually oppressed by the Church and was in fact gay. People are different and should be allowed to be who they want to be, even if it conflicts with some outdated and oppressive religion. I guess your religion is truly failing since Catholic women use birth control as much as non-Catholic women. They also get abortions almost as much. That must sting.

      • Gloria

        Thank you!! You listed everything! It’s a relief to see someone else “get it” but at the same time heartbreaking that it’s true! -Gloria

    • AlbinoWino

      Yup, this is exactly why I left the Catholic church. It’s a bunch of men trying to tell women what to do with their bodies while they can’t even keep their own in check from hurting children.

      • Gloria

        Sorry you’ve felt that way. The exact opposite happened in my case. I’ve found the Church to be more pro-woman, more about equality of the sexes, more consistent, and much more complete than any of the feminism I used to follow. I hope one day you’ll reconsider, and study Her teaching, really study them, with an open heart. Humanae Vitae, Theology of the Body, both very helpful, and HV very prophetic. Peace.

        • AlbinoWino

          I just don’t understand how anyone can think a church is pro-woman when they won’t even let women take a leadership role. Women can’t be priests and aren’t allowed to do a lot of things within the church based solely on the fact that they’re women. What are men so much more capable of than women? They focus so much attention to being against abortion and against birth control. Of course, they put all of this on women and the men get a free pass. I left and I’ve been so much happier ever since. My worth is no longer reduced to whether I’m a virgin before marriage or not. Or whether I’m making lots of babies to indoctrinate with Catholicism. Or feeling guilt for every mistake for fear I will be sent to hell. I let all of that go and I still live a life where I can love and care for others. I don’t do it for a God or for my soul. I just do it because I feel it is right.

          • Gloria

            Priestly ordination is the only thing I’m aware of that women can’t obtain. On the flip side, women are the only ones who can give birth. Why are only women granted that, even though men are strong, too? 🙂 Sorry, I’m not very good at explaining the nuances. Catholic Answers Forums can probably do a better job, since that’s something a lot of people ask about. You can just lurk and browse the topic threads.

            You’re wrong about men getting a free pass, actually. The Church sets the same standards for men and women in regards to responsibility and sexual morality. For abortion, the mother is the first and last line of defense, so it *is* a little bit more on her, but men can be seriously guilty for any complicit part they play. And abortion is a sin because it’s the murder of an innocent child, period. I can think of very few things worse than causing that kind of harm to a child.
            And in practicing family planning, with NFP for example, both have to practice self-control if they need to temporarily abstain, because it’s no more morally licit for a man to use a condom or get a vasectomy than it is for a woman to use a hormonal bc or get her tubes tied. It’s meant to be a mutually-giving partnership, both dying to the self. Having been on both sides, I think the Church’s teachings are more in line with equality than modern feminism (where most of the times, women get the short end of the stick wrt the burden of contracepting, single parenting, and dealing with abortion).

            The Church has never taught that our worth is determined by whether we’re virgins before marriage, or whether we marry at all, or have lots of kids. She teaches us that sex is powerful and holy and capable of bringing for life, and that we should treat it with the utmost respect. Our bodies and each other, as well. Sex is considered sacramental when practiced by spouses.

            I don’t blame you for feeling that way, though! I don’t think many of us were blessed with good instruction of the faith growing up. 🙂 Lots of things were only given a surface explanation that didn’t dig down to the root reasoning, and we end up suffering needlessly for it, the constant guilt thing included. Try having scrupolocity and dealing with it, haha.

            Here are links to Humanae Vitae and Theology of the Body, in case you’re ever interested in giving the old teachings a chance again. 🙂 These two helped me a lot to understand the Church’s real views on women, men, and sex, back when I was professing pretty much everything contrary to its teachings and getting ready to leave the Faith. If you’re like me, it’ll take at least 3 readings of the first link to start really seeing it. Oh, and let me know if I accidentally missed one of your points!

            HV was written around the time of the sexual revolution, and was so spot-on it pretty much single-handedly disarmed my old views.

            TOB is looong, so I only read the “cool” parts then.

            I hope these help you understand the teachings better, and even refine your views, even if you don’t come back to the Church.

          • Jude

            I wish I could give this a thousand votes up. Amazing how people want to focus on what women can’t do which by the way, I don’t want to do–at all. I am not made to be a father. My priest can not be a mother. But he can be a priest, set aside for a particular purpose. A priest is not my master, he is my spiritual director and only he can offer the sacrifice of the Mass. Each of us brings unique gifts to the Church.

    • Eric Horne

      I agree with you that Catholic women need more options for regulating births. I am happy to note that the last three Popes agree with you too on that point. Though I disagree that those options have to be contrary to the Churches understanding of the human person and a holistic view of sexuality.

      It’s absolutely true some women can’t chart with mucus or temperature. And yes, I’m one of those women! And yes, I’ve gotten pregnant while using NFP when I wasn’t intending to, and yes, that has at times been hard. No, it’s not because my husband and I lack self-control as some people in this thread have suggested. It’s because NFP can be confusing and difficult! That should be an open part of any conversation about NFP! I am really sad to see the judgement and condemnation that many NFP adherents have against women who say they have difficulty! Even though I experience struggles with NFP I still use it, because I truly embrace and proclaim the truth of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church–as a free-thinking, educated woman! I also think NFP is a wonderful tool and can liberate many women in gaining knowledge of their bodies.

      I am thankful though I don’t have to be a martyr while using NFP since the development of a lesser known form of NFP called the Marquette method.

      The difference between this method and other methods is the use of a fertility monitor to track ones hormonal flow through a morning urine test. The tested protocol has amazing effectiveness, even for difficult cycles. I can’t tell you how much less stress I feel over using NFP since beginning Marquette over three years ago. This method has enabled me to navigate easily many of my difficulties with NFP, all under the FREE guidance of a thoughtful and educated staff of doctors and nurses. If you are struggling with NFP or teach people who struggle with it I highly suggest registering for their forum and learning more about this protocol. I hope that science can lead us to a place of better understanding of our bodies so that they can be used as they are meant to be used!

      • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

        Thank you for sharing your experience. Some women will benefit from it, as they strive to learn more about their bodies and how to use NFP more effectively. Other women will choose to continue to use what works for them. It is ridiculous and sad that the hierarchy have decided to speak on this very private woman’s issue at all. It is not an issue that Jesus even cares about, as Jesus asks us to love one another and to look out on the world to help those in real need.

        • EAS

          REally? Christ does not care about fertility, child bearing, or if/how a couple conceives a child? That refutes so much of the bible or common sense!

        • Jude

          And once again we see the word “hierarchy.” Someone can’t wrap her brain around the fact that fertility is a gift from God and that the Magisterium asks us to balance Faith and Reason. Perhaps Jesus would like us to love the children. Perhaps Jesus expected us to take up our crosses and live a mature faith. What exactly is the teaching of the Orthodox Jewish faith on birth control again? Try reading “Humanae Vitae” and seeing what its author, His Holiness Pope Paul VI, predicted would happen to a society which separated the sexual act from procreation. (Hint: infidelity, moral decline, loss of respect for women, abuse of contraception by the state, etc…)

      • Gloria

        Good point! Another one that I’ve noticed a lot of women who have trouble with cycles like to use is Creighton. Glad you found a method that works with you, and that you didn’t give up!

    • Jude

      I’m sorry to inform you that you are most definitely NOT Catholic. You are actually Protestant. You are protesting against a teaching of the Church. What else should people who are childless and celibate not do? Please do inform us. I am not intimidated by “hierarchy,” and anyone who refers to the clergy as such has just shown their cards. Every faith sets its own standards. If you don’t like ours, believe me, no one is stopping you from leaving. Head down the street to the Anglican church. The article was very factual, but doctors can’t bring themselves to admit that they have been participating in such unethical practices.

  • tula


    The same people who sell birth control sell abortions. They make birth control ineffective so that their “customers” will come back for the abortion. Wake up, ladies. NFP is more effective!!! And you can trust yourself and your body to not dupe you into an abortion.

  • virginia

    What women need is access to BC scientific research and health consequences which are objective. So they can make up their own mind also. The dangers are under reported and when put forth are attacked as a pack of lies and distortions by people with agendas. So bravo to this writer.

    • AlbinoWino

      So what are the possible consequences to having a bunch of kids you don’t want or can’t afford?

      • Jude

        Perhaps if you don’t want or can’t afford children, you should not be engaging in that which is designed to result in offspring. If you can not give of yourself to a child, why do you think you can adequately give of yourself to a mate? And what precisely does being able to “afford” children mean, when for most of the history of humans families lived below the poverty level and still the human race survived. Should the poor not have children? Wouldn’t it be a tad elitist and culturally insensitive to say as much?

  • cbmom3

    I’ve been wondering the same thing for years – thanks for posting such a well thought out article! Its sad that it seems like the majority of people out there really misunderstand the Catholic Church’s teachings – based on one of the comments above, that includes Catholics too. The Church’s teachings are so pro-woman and truly respect every woman’s dignity. Following the church teachings has given me more love, security, and freedom than I have ever known. And believe me, I know the false “freedom” on the other side as well – I lived that way for 30 years. For over a decade I pumped artificial hormones into my body. Unfortunately I was not aware that I have a genetic propensity to grow tumors and adding hormones to my body fueled their growth. Four tumor surgeries later, including a brain tumor and surgery that resulted in a stroke, I am only in my 40s and living in fear of cancer. I have three little kids and desperately want to see my grandkids. I hope that posts like yours and others will wake people up to how harmful artificial birth control really is – physically, psychologically and socially. And wake them up to the fact that there is a perfectly healthy and natural alternative.

  • Margaret Kelly

    I think you raise some good points, and this argument is rhetorically convincing, but there’s not strictly a paradox here. Lots of us try to make “crunchy” choices, sure (some more than others!) but I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who’s an absolutist on food and beauty products to the point of refusing to participate in any processes which frustrate nature (as hormonal birth control does). Do we all turn down genetically modified seeds? Livestock conceived through artificial insemination? And so on.

    I think many of us have absorbed the important insight that circumventing or thwarting natural processes can unleash hidden dangers, but we’re also aware that such manipulations can save lives and help people to thrive in ways that are not available naturally. I’m not a historian, but I’d wager that the new interest in “natural” living over the past few decades was in part a corrective to a more technologically-enthusiastic outlook in the first part of the twentieth century. There are ways to err on the side of “being natural” and ways to err on the side of manipulating it, and it’s a fallacy (the natural fallacy!) to think that anything that is not found in nature is not good.

    So all that being said, I don’t think our defense of NFP can rest on the “it’s natural, yay” argument, and we can’t point to a strict logical inconsistency in crunchy women who use hormonal birth control. I’ve read a lot of kind of Rousseauian essays in which NFP is extolled for its ability to teach women to reclaim their natural rhythms, learn to love their body, etc. And that’s nice. But the fact is, nature may be nice, but it’s also gross and ugly and death-dealing, a lot of the time. Childbirth is beautiful, but it’s also killed plenty of women whose lives – let’s face it – might have been saved by hormonal birth control, had it been available to them at the time. And think of all of the natural things we try to change or destroy!

    So the challenge for a defense of NFP, I think, is to show why there is something unique about human sexuality, something that makes it wrong to mess with it, to thwart its natural procreative telos or purpose or whatever. We do this all the time in other aspects of our lives – using antiperspirant, for instance, is thwarting the end or telos or natural purpose of our apocrine glands. But plenty of faithful Catholic women use antiperspirant!

    So sex between humans can’t be wrong just because it frustrates a natural process. There has to be another reason.

  • Anonymous

    I am intrigued by the author’s contradiction between chemical and natural lifestyles. However, I was turned off over the course of the article by the author’s implications that women only have sex with men because they want it, or to keep them in a relationship. Can women not experience this form of pleasure for their own sake, and not simply to be pleasing a man? Is it wrong for a woman to decide that she never wants children (even if she is married, or with a lifelong commitment to a man); should a woman determined to never have children opt never to have/enjoy sex? I will have to investigate the natural family planning idea more, but it seems risky to chance having an unwanted child, leaving the nasty chemical concoction a bit safer than the alternative.

    • ladycygnus

      NFP has about the same “success/failure” rate as chemical contraception. The difficulty would be that a woman is most interested in sex when she is most fertile – and NFP requires self-discipline (and a partner who is on board).

      Either way, there is still the risk of getting pregnant – because sex is for making babies and bonding you to that partner to give the child the best chance at life – as in that is it’s biological purpose. There is always the chance that your body will work and a child will be made.

      What then? People keep intentionally engaging in the act of creating a baby and then are horrified when it works.

    • A.B

      Catholic teaching, in general, has never been about pleasure. There has, however, been alot of stress on sacrifice and suffering, which may explain some things :/

      • Jude

        Actually that is false. Catholic teaching realizes that sex is BOTH procreative and unitive, as well as pleasurable. We do believe that life is filled with sacrifice and suffering, in addition to love and joy. What is it about this balanced view of life that bothers you? And faithful Catholic married couples tend to have very satisfying sex lives.

        • A.B

          Perhaps the teaching is there, but the ways in which teaching was taught and enforced as a young person were rooted in rules and shame when your experience of life did not fall in line with those in authority.

          • Gloria

            It’s true, most of us were poorly catechized. I think a lot of the teachers we had growing up were, too, whether they were our own parents or working for the church. :/ But the teachings ARE there, and they’re hardly the superficial kind.

      • L

        Incorrect. St. Pope John Paul II actually said it’s a husband’s job to make sure his wife is satisfied.

    • AnsweringAnonymous

      Hi Anonymous,

      One issue at hand is that it there is not just one person involved. Sure, in the abstract it would be fine for a woman to experience this form of pleasure for her own sake — except that she is using another human being to get this effect. I personally would not want to be the person being used for someone else’s pleasure, even if I were in turn being equally inconsiderate and using them for my own pleasure. What pleasure is there really in an act where two people are “uniting” only for the sake of using each other instead of for the sake of creating something beautiful together? I, for one, think that using someone for one’s own pleasure only serves to give one a very temporary pleasure (if at all) that is quite incomplete and not fulfilling in any way.

      • Anonymouse

        Then I strongly recommend that you don’t have casual sex.

        I have no problem being “used” for sexual pleasure, as long as I’m doing the same thing. Nothing wrong with it.

        • A_Williams

          This is a popular myth–central to the porn industry: “she loves sex!” I’m not saying women can’t enjoy sex, but rather that the sex she will enjoy tends to occur within committed relationships. Casual sex tends to be selfish and selfish guys tend to be fast… It’s hard enough for women to “finish” without his apathy; if he doesn’t care to give her a hand, the penetration might even hurt. He’s just there to get his end in. “Wham, bam, thank you, ma’am.”

          Unfortunately, sex is decidedly biased against women, and Samantha Jones myth aside, her access to sexual pleasure (especially while on birth control, which the author already pointed out, lowers women’s libido) is almost entirely contingent on his caring. Want to enjoy sex? Committed love is a good place to start.

    • Arden Abeille

      “it seems risky to chance having an unwanted child, leaving the nasty chemical concoction a bit safer than the alternative.”
      The problem (well, one of them) with this is that “the pill” has a failure rate much higher than advertised. A three-year study in the U.K. found that “the pill” was only 67% effective in preventing pregnancy–this means your “chance of having an unwanted child” is NOT 1 in 100, as most manufacturers claim, but 1 in THREE–and that is only the pregnancies that managed to persist beyond the abortifacient function of “the pill.” When you have sex over time, trusting to “the pill” to prevent pregnancy, chances are great that, not every cycle but sometimes, you are actually conceiving children that then get “flushed out” when you get to the next placebo pills and have your “withdrawal bleed,” without your even knowing you were pregnant. (Some “choice,” huh?) So there are the abortions you don’t even know about, plus the pregnancies they DID know about, which (since they were contracepting, which means they wanted to have the sex but not the baby) may lead to further abortions they DID “choose.” (So there’s the whole abortion-pill connection problem, as well.)
      This same study found that, over those three years, NFP practitioners were almost 100% successful at putting off pregnancy (which shocked the researchers, and me too!). So no, actually, “the pill” is not “safer” than NFP, with respect to putting off pregnancy. It is also not “safer” with respect to the woman’s health (quite the opposite), and it is also not “safer” with respect to quality of relationships (NFP practitioners divorce rate is 1%. 1%!). So really, there’s no contest. It’s a myth that “the pill” is “safe” in any way.
      Oh–finally, if what you are concerned about is enjoyment of sex, there’s reams of research showing that married people are vastly more satisfied with their sex lives than single people are, and building research showing that NFP-using married couples have better relationship quality, including sexual satisfaction, so really, again, there’s no contest.
      Also, I’d just like to say, in response to the notion (put forward in the article and repeated in Anonymous’s post) that one reason to contracept is so that women can “have sex with men to keep them in a relationship”–if that’s actually what’s going on, guess what? You HAVE no relationship. You have him using your body. When he gets bored with it or finds another one he likes better, your “relationship” is over. So really, it’s “over” now, and if you have some self-respect you’ll recognize that and realize you are worth better.

      • Mara

        Do you have a link to the UK study? The statistics I heard were 1 in 10 failure, not 1 in 3. That is shocking.

  • disqus_NAVsMmJ24g

    One does not have to be Catholic to even consider using NFP. It is also called FAM, Fertility Awareness Method, and one type of it is taught in the non-Catholic, thoroughly secular book Taking Charge of Your Fertility.

    There are also several types of NFP. You can use the method that works best for you and you can always change if your needs do. Here are the main ones:

    1) The sympto-thermal method (STM) is the most known by many and uses both cervical mucus (CM) awareness, which changes throughout the month, along with temperature taking each morning. You can take your temp all month or just until you verify ovulation, it’s up to you. There are several apps for your phone to help you keep track.

    2) Billings Ovulation Method, used around the world and even by uneducated peasant women, you monitor your CM to determine when you are fertile or not.

    3) Creighton method, developed by Creighton University, also uses CM. This method is used very successfully with trained Na-Pro physicians to determine the causes of many gynecological problems, including repetitive miscarriages, heavy and/or painful periods, PMS, PCOS, hormone problems, infertility, and SOLVE them. Not just mask them by taking a pill that does nothing. NaPro physicians have a higher success rate than IVF for fertility.

    4) The Marquette Method, from Marquette University, uses the ClearBlue Easy fertility monitor along with CM & if you want temperature, to determine fertility.

    For more information the website: has lots of good info (but not a good list of physicians or instructors.) And on Facebook you can join one of several NFP groups. This one is for people of any faith (or none): The recommended way to learn is by instructor/class for individual instruction and questions.

    I have used NFP for 10 1/2 years with no problems and no “accidents.” I have found it to be extremely empowering because I know how my body works, and how to work with it to achieve or postpone pregnancy. You don’t have to be Catholic to use something that works and doesn’t pollute your body. There is a huge body of knowledge, collected for over 50 years, from couples using these methods – which are inexpensive. A woman’s body is exquisite and beautifully made. Why should we pollute it with carcinogens and strong chemicals to break what is not broken? Why should we contribute to polluting the water with hormones that affect others and the environment? Why should we contribute to the “empowerment” of BigPharma who has a vested interest in keeping us paying for decades for chemicals that only harm us?

    • ChemFreeBC

      There is another birth control option that is chemical free and it’s called paraguard (IUD).

  • Marquette NFP User

    Great article! I use the Marquette form of NFP and love it. My husband and I have successfully avoided pregnancy for the last 16 cycles, and are confident that we can continue to do so until we’re ready to start a family. Marquette uses the Clearblue Fertility Monitor so it’s a high-tech and easy form of NFP. All I have to do is test my urine for hormones in the morning and the monitor and an algorithm tell me if the day is fertile. I was able to learn the method for free online. It takes all of about 30 seconds a day, and it is a 99% effective, organic, no side effects, and morally acceptable form of birth control. We only have to abstain about 10 days a cycle, and then the rest we are free to enjoy- with no need for any sort of icky “barriers.” Would never use anything else!

  • rdk

    Crystal Stick Body Deodorant

    • penny

      doesn’t work, smelled like a donkey using it. i’m using something else “organic” now that works for a few hours, then back to smelling like butt. i’ve spent hundreds trying every “natural” deodorant no the market, even making batch after batch of my own homemade concoctions. there are no “natural” deodorants that work as well as commercial. they just don’t. even reapplying doesn’t cut it. my pits have been dripping with natural deodorants and the smell is still very obvious. i can wear one application of commercial deodorant and be BO-free for days,without showering or reapplying. i wish they worked i hate commercial products, but they just don’t.

  • Reno Berkeley

    Good grief, enough with the slut shaming already. It isn’t rare for women to use chemical birth control for health reasons. And as for going the “natural route?” Tell that to my dead Catholic grandmother, who used the calendar method and ended up with 12 children.

    • Erin

      NFP is not the same as the “calendar method.” Many people also use natural means to address female health problems. That is the whole point of this article, that those who tend towards natural remedies often overlook them when dealing with birth control pills, whether they are using them to address their fertility or their health issues.

      • penny

        i tried for years to use “natural” remedies, but only got worse and worse, more and more sick. BC saved my life, and i know dozens of women who take BC strictly for health reasons alone. just because you don’t doesn’t mean it’s rare!

        • Mari

          BC for actual health concerns, such as hormone therapy when an XY female has low progesterone and estrogen levels is a completely legitimate use of the chemical compound. Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t health risks, but just to say that use of those chemicals is not precluded when it is not used as BC, but as a medical necessity. However, how that plays out in the case of marriage is not something I have needed to talk to a priest about, but I advise in that case seeking out informed spiritual council, if you are in such a situation.

          • WHY

            I clicked on this survey to learn something, scrolled thru the comments in hopes to learn a little more and get opinions from people, and i did get some good info i also read alot a of people arguing there beliefs. If you are soooo sure about yourselves then why do you find it a point to argue over the internet with people you will never meet in your life time. Ive been on BC since i was 13 b.c of cysts on my ovaries. yes it causes some cancers it also prevents some cancers too. BUT GUESS WHAT cell phone, computers, many shampoos makeup, soda, most meats you buy at the super market, the gas that runs your cars the alcohol you drink secretly when you get mad b.c someone on the internet challenges your beliefs pretty much everything the human race consumes causes cancer or other health issues. I believe in science yes i believe there is a higher power of some sorts but i DONT believe that ill be thrown in a Fiery hell if i take birth control or have sex. and im not sitting here producing countless FACTS of Evolution or Scientific FACTS that i wont go to hell if i live my life the way i want not the way a book tells me. I dont push my beliefs down peoples throats and IF YOUR SO SURE YOUR RIGHT THEN WHY DO YOU CARE WHAT PEOPLE THINK!!!! EVERYONE is entitled to there opinion and they shouldn’t have to worry about being called out on it. if your so christian then why are passing judgement on people. but thank you to those who actually gave information and to those who turned this into a religious war there is those facts of molestation you wanted now get over it already but guess what there are creeps everywhere Ive met Great Catholics and Ive met great atheists we are the human race it dosnt matter what you believe in what matters is your either a Dirt bag or your a good person your beliefs are not relevant to anyone but you

          • WHY

            sorry Mari i clicked on the wrong thing that wasn’t met towards you

  • A thoughtful piece on a topic which is sometimes ignored, often misunderstood, and always emotional. We need more honest discussion and awareness on the mechanism and consequences of “the pill.”

  • Lisa Pollack

    I wish the comments didn’t have to get all religious. I am Catholic but I am interested in NFP because I hate taking hormones, which is what this article seemed to be about. I wish people would have chimed in more details on how to make NFP work successfully, not propaganda and unsubstantiated stats that don’t help me decide if NFP could be an idea for me.

    • JS

      NFP is a great idea for everyone. If you wish to learn more, I can point you toward resources, or you can message me privately. Leave a comment and I can send you my email.

      • Lisa Pollack

        I would like to learn more. The segment on NFP at pre cana was absolutely awful and 0% informative on how it’d actually be effective at preventing pregnancy. Thanks!

        • Guest

          Hi Lisa! Please email me at stoudtj at michigan dot gov so we can communicate directly. It’s not easy for me to see and leave comments on this thread and email is much more convenient.

    • has a lot of information on charting. It is geared toward women who want to get pregnant, but you can also use the knowledge to not get pregnant.

  • Mark_Trail

    I’ve had crunchy couples tell me they use NFP. And they’re not Catholic. Great article. A “keeper.”

  • Stephanie W.

    wow, where to start…

    Yes, estradiol is a Class 1 carcinogen, along with cadmium and chromium
    and benzene and arsenic. You know what other things are Class 1
    carcinogens? Alcohol. Leather dust. Wood dust. Paint fumes. Being
    infected with Hepatitis B or C. Infections of Epstein-Barr virus or
    Heliobacter pylori (the bacteria that causes ulcers). Engine exhaust.
    Outdoor air pollution. And “Chinese style” salted fish. (…/known-and-probable-human…)

    Oh, look at all the side effects on the label for birth control!
    *eyeroll* Have you looked at the label for any prescription drug? The
    possible side effects for oral or injectable penicillin include, but are
    not limited to, irregular breathing, fever, swelling of the face,
    rash/hives/itching, seizures, depression, vomiting, yellowing of eyes or
    skin, tooth discoloration, anxiety, hallucinations, white patches in
    the mouth and/or on the tongue, and DEATH FROM SEVERE ALLERGIC REACTION.

    Other pros of taking the synthetic hormones in birth control that the
    author fails to mention: decreased risk of ovarian cancer, decreased
    pain and bleeding during menstruation, control of irregular menstrual
    cycles, hormone treatment for missing or damaged ovaries, and decreased
    acne. These don’t have to do with specific illnesses per se but help
    manage the (sometimes debilitating) symptoms associated with
    menstruation. I am guessing this author doesn’t have any of those
    problems. Lucky her.

    4. As someone working on my PhD in animal behavior, I am extremely familiar with the science that the author
    refers to regarding the influence birth control has on mate preference
    in humans and the author does an amazing job of completely
    misinterpreting the results of said research. The actual results
    indicate that women using contraceptives chose the same men as pregnant
    women… the hypothesis being that both groups were looking for men that
    were less aggressive (and more genetically similar to themselves) as
    long-term mates to help with child care. The women who were not on any
    birth control and were not pregnant chose the males that smelled less
    genetically similar because said males would probably be the best choice
    as genetic sires for offspring, but not necessarily for a social mate.
    Result = women on birth control and pregnant women actually probably
    make better decisions regarding men who are going to be good fathers
    than the other group of women.

    In the primate study referenced the male stopped mating with the
    females on birth control because those females did not go into estrus
    and did not smell as if they were ovulating… thereby not giving the male
    any signal that he should mate with those females. This is a very
    different situation from humans where sex is not only something that
    occurs when a female is ready to get pregnant, but is an important part
    of social bonding between mates and is even, gasp, engaged in purely for

    All that being said, hormones in meat are bad. Hormone-free meat is
    good, for the animals and it is healthier for people because you are not
    ingesting unknown quantities of various antibiotics and hormones. But
    ingesting prescribed hormones under the supervision of your doctor is
    not the same thing as eating hormone-injected beef.

    • Stephanie W.

      That’s what I get for typing it all out in Word first, funky formatting issues. Sorry for the weird returns!

    • Alicia

      Thank you so much for posting the facts the everyone else has be ignoring.

    • AlbinoWino

      You are awesome.

    • Gloria

      On point #3, problems with pain and bleeding during menstruation, as well as cycle irregularities, can often be resolved or greatly reduced by fixing the underlying cause. For example, a hormonal imbalance due to a nutritional deficiency. Same thing with acne. A relative (doctor) wanted to put me on bc for my symptoms. A medicine she later gave me worked in a similar fashion to bc, by flatlining a bodily reaction. The side effects were more of a pain than the affliction. Fast forward, I found ways to get to the root of both acne and menstrual problems, more or less.

      A close friend went on the pill to help with PCOS. She hated them. She was a wreck. That particular doctor was the only one who’d known what was wrong with her, how PCOS worked, and the pills were not supposed to be forever, but short-term; she was just in such bad shape, bleeding heavily non-stop, that such measures were necessary. She took them maybe a year, two max. But it was when she came off them and made a huge dietary and lifestyle change that she saw real improvements.

      BC pills may be helpful, but they shouldn’t be used as a permanent solution unless absolutely necessary, nor should they be used as a bandaid “cure” for every little problem when real treatments and cures exist. That’s rather lazy, and a disservice to women.

    • glc006

      At least there is one voice of reason out there…I’ve read the two studies mentioned as well & actually laughed multiple times while reading this article.

  • Ken C

    Just Google Eden Foods and birth control and you will see an organic pioneer who believes in consistency … and caught hell for it!

  • Bonnie Bailey

    Wonderful article.

  • Kim

    My husband and I took a NFP class before we were married because it was required in Western South Dakota. We had no idea what an impact it would make on us & our marriage. What we can tell is if a woman is on a birth control pill just based on her personality, dress, and pheromones. Pheromones are the big indicator for both of us. We feel it. We sense it. We’ve cut almost all chemicals out of our diet, and our marriage is perfect in our eyes! Our friends cannot believe we aren’t pregnant after 1 year of marriage without using any artificial contraception! Simple. NFP is 100% effective if used correctly!

    AND Guys are way more attracted to women who are not on the pill. Even though I am married, I can tell when I am fertile based on how guys act around me. Way friendlier & way more confident! We recommend NFP to every couple, married or not. Chemicals are never good for the body.

  • Loup-Garou

    “[C]hemical birth control seems to make women less capable of choosing a compatible mate.”

    I used to date a woman whose ex-boyfriend was a selfish, cowardly, irresponsible creep (this is not hearsay; I personally met him several times). That she had ever fallen for him confused me, because she also fell pretty hard for me, and I’d like to believe that I’m 180 degrees removed from guys like that.

    It was a mystery until she confessed that she had, a few years prior to meeting me, been taking oral contraceptives (for medical reasons, not recreational ones). She was crazy for Mr. Loser until she stopped taking the pill, after which their relationship collapsed in short order.

    • AlbinoWino

      Yes. Because anecdotal examples always prove everything. Eyeroll.

      • Dunsworth

        And anecdotal examples that back up theories I don’t like are clearly suspect.

        There’s nothing wrong with using anecdotes if you’re not claiming they’re proof, which he didn’t.

  • AlbinoWino

    It’s funny to me how Catholics still push this anti birth control stance SO much when Catholic women use birth control just as much as non-Catholics. You have lost this fight. Also, if you’re going to push the crunchy thing so much, and I’m not opposed to that, it would seem you’re also taking a pro-environmental stance. You know what this planet could use a lot less of? People. You would significantly help the environment by not having as many children or, heck, not having any at all. Colorado recently had a significant drop in teen pregnancy when free birth control was provided because, well, abstinence only education doesn’t work. If you want to use NFP, go for it. I’ll be over here saving the planet by not overpopulating it with my spawn.

    • Mari

      Curious, which people would you like to see less of? Would you like mothers of large families to line up so that you can tell them which children should never have existed due to their carbon prints?

      • AlbinoWino

        If they already exist, they already exist. But looking to the future it would be better for everyone to stick to the replacement rate or less. To be fair, Catholics are already doing this. The age old stereotype of Catholics being baby factories has been reduced significantly in the US at least because to the prevalence of birth control. I’d say that’s a win and something we should still be promoting.

        • Jude

          This now-orthodox Catholic used birth control briefly in her teens due to the poor medical advice of a gynecologist. But guess what? I am still counted in the numbers as being one of those Catholics who use birth control. Because the numbers don’t tell the full story. I agree that the Catholic church has only recently begun to educate its flock about the benefits of NFP, as well as the need to not abuse NFP and turn it into “Church-approved birth control.” NFP is to be used to avoid pregnancy only for grave reasons. The overpopulation myth is something you really need to look into, as it has no factual basis whatsoever. I do have a large family, not because I am a baby factory, but because I realized that fertility is this amazing gift and that each child is a miracle. I have a husband that accepts all of me as being beautiful, including my fertility, and his heart is big enough to love all of his children without seeing them as financial burdens. As Mother Theresa said, saying there are too many children is like saying there are too many flowers.

          • AlbinoWino

            You must seriously have your head buried in the sand. You think human overpopulation isn’t a problem? Let me guess, you’re just using the Bible as your smart source on this and nothing else. We already live in a world of famine, pollution, and little open space. Our actions are having a deep impact on this world and often not for the better. Family size is a personal choice in some ways but I try to look at the broader impact. I don’t need to make a bunch of babies for my own selfish purposes when there are already so many people in the world already. Fertility isn’t an amazing gift for everyone. If you live in a developing nation it can often hold you back and make life more perilous. Contraceptives and access to safe abortions reduces this. In nations where they can’t access these things there is a higher maternal death rate, more orphans, more botched abortions leading to dead women, famine, etc. You live a life of privilege and when you try to make overarching statements about your values and think they have to extend to everybody else you are not doing anyone any favors. Not every woman wants children or a husband. But sure, tell me how overpopulation is some myth while this world rots and you wait for Jesus or whoever to bail you out. The rest of humanity might actually try to do something. As one scientist notes: “Unless we reduce the human population humanely through family planning, nature will do it for us through violence, epidemics or starvation.”

          • Jude

            Well how about starting with a little reading at Population Research Institute ( Or try some very basic information at There are even videos on YouTube. Maybe learn what the term “malthusian” means and why the fake science behind overpopulation has been refuted. Overpopulation is NOT what causes poverty. Hmmm, I wonder if there might be any big companies that could possibly profit from pushing contraception in Third World countries? Learn about how these supposedly charitable organizations go into communities and tie their handouts to making women agree to contraception. And yes, fertility IS a gift. You lost all credibility when you started talking about access to “safe” abortion. Because here is the kicker: abortion is NEVER safe for the unborn child. And no, I don’t leave a life of privilege. I lead a life of born into a dirt-poor family, married a man born into a dirt poor family, and we have worked our butts off together for over 20 years to build a better life. Our hearts weren’t so cold and calculating that we couldn’t make room in them for any children God might send us. I’d say the world is rotting precisely because people think science is going to bail them out. Given the choice between a scientifically advanced world and a virtuous world, I’d take the latter. As a Christian I know that Jesus has bailed me out, is bailing me out, and by the grace of God will bail me out when my time on this NOT OVERPOPULATED earth is over. Plot Spoiler Alert: Jesus wins in the end.

          • AlbinoWino

            The organizations your cite just have a religious agenda. Nothing more. You can believe all the magic and superstition you want out of the Bible but none of it is rooted in fact. Even the Church has had to cave on the theory of evolution because it has so much evidence to back it up. Before that people thought the creation story consisted of one dude and one lady and all of human kind magically descended from them (incest?). So you can condemn science all you want but it is science that will fight famine, disease, global warming, etc. Prayer will do nothing to help these matters just as it has never done. It is not rooted in fact, it is rooted in faith. If all of humanity relied on prayer and just sat back nothing would get done. Humankind would not have achieved anything. You have no proof that heaven exists, that Jesus is going to return, none of it. I prefer to live my life being a good person and also basing my beliefs on what I can see and influence.
            I was raised in a pro-choice Catholic home because while my parents didn’t like the idea of abortion, they also didn’t like the idea of women not having access to the procedure and dying terrible deaths after one was botched. You can say you care about unborn children but you don’t care about women. Greater access to contraception leads to fewer abortions and I am all for that. Colorado recently greatly reduced their teenage pregnancies by providing free contraception. This nation is never going to just oust contraception so you might as well get used to being in the fundamentalist out of touch minority. It’s not going to change. Perhaps you should look at the histories of nations like Romania and Philippines to see how badly the restriction of contraception hurt the nations and their people. And I’m sure you feel no pity for the women who die in agony when they are refused an abortion, even when it would actually save their life like the case of the woman in Ireland who died from a bacterial infection and begged for an abortion. I’m sure you celebrated her death. If you don’t like abortion, fine. Don’t have one. I would never want one myself but that doesn’t mean I need to pry into the lives of others to restrict them based on my own biases or beliefs.

    • Gloria

      Lost? This “liberal” Catholic is now in line with believe the teachings of her Church. And no unplanned kids to speak of yet! So far, that means none yet. Can’t say the same for many people I know (they are great parents, though). Teen and unwed pregnancy is common where I grew up. Oh, and they had contraception available to them, and used it. It certainly is a paradox.

  • Phylliberts

    What if youre nursing and dont have a cycle. How can you use NFP then ?

    • Gloria

      It’s tougher, but it’s doable. Many couple switch methods to one that’s easier to use during the hormonal fluctuations. For example, someone who was using sympto-thermal might start using Billings or Creighton, which are mucus only. I’ve heard some women say that checking their cervix opening become the most reliable sign. Marquette is also popular. Most methods have guidelines for post-partum use.

  • Awesome article, thanks for writing about this topic! It’s something I’ve agreed with for a long time.

  • Refreshing…

  • MTV

    Awesome! Everything I’ve been saying for years. I’m tired of all the hypocritical women on this “natural” discussion, even homeopathic doctors are still saying chemical birth control is ok, it’s not! Thanks for this great article. I’ve used Natural Family Planning for years, we have 5 beautiful children and a very happy marriage with an active sex life, actually more active than my contracepting friends. Everything you’ve stated is completely accurate, thanks for sharing.

  • Hyaline

    You have some decent points–mainly about the unabashed acceptance of hormonal birth control without questioning its components. You’re absolutely right that many women insist on their organic produce but don’t think twice about popping a chemically simulated hormone. You’re also right that plenty of women don’t look into the potential side effects of their birth control as thoroughly as they should. However, you completely lose me at the pseudo-science claiming that *because birth control affected what sweat women claimed they preferred* women can’t choose acceptable marriage partners. This is a complete logical fallacy. Far too simple a test for the conclusion you try to tease out of it. Ditto how monkeys react to birth control. They are monkeys. Their physiology and how they communicate sexual interest are very different from ours. Again, logical fallacy to relate it to humans and our relationships (which are, incredibly, based on far more than sweat and sexual stimuli).

    Seriously–consider a rewrite of this article with the crap interpretations of already questionable science left out. You’d have a much stronger argument and might actually reach some people.

  • Stacey

    Interesting read. Every woman is different so there needs to be different birth controls for everyone. There is also a non hormone birth control available

  • Gerard Neumann

    Great article. And she doesn’t even have to mention the fact that these women are themselves harming the ecosystem they claim to love so much.

  • Malia

    As an ovarian cancer survivor I am disgusted by this article. The use of birth control pills for medical reasons is NOT “isolated and rare.” Going on a page long tyraid against birth control pills without adequate research is both negligent and ignorant. Here is just one of many articles outlining the COMMON use of birth control for medical reasons.

    To shame woman out of using the pill is disgusting and to support the ban of its use for reasons you outlined is again, ill researched and ignorant.

    As a Christian and ovarian cancer survivor, I pray you open your eyes, do some research, and stop spreading dangerous propaganda against a drug that, unfortunately has many benefits for many woman- stopping unwanted birth is just one out of about 10. And yes, natural family planning does work for some woman ( I’ve tried that too) But it didn’t help ease the unbearable pain and extreme bleeding that came with my periods. And when a doctor saw an irregular growth on my ovary, natural family planning didn’t stop the growth of painful cysts that in the end, where cancer.

    So again, quit with the shaming. Essential oils and GMO free eating are not cure alls. Many woman need birth control pills- as a legitimate and common tool to prevent and manage disease.

    Research my friend. And God bless.

    • Gloria

      I’m sorry you had to go through that, and I’m glad you’re okay now. Please don’t take this article as hostile; she did mention that some women take it for valid medical purposes, and in no way was she shaming them for using them.

      I followed the link you posted. Less than half of those issues are “fixed” or truly treatable with hormonal contraceptives. They suppress the symptoms, like DayQuil with a bad cough, but don’t address the root of the problem. To give an example, I’ve dealt with bad acne and very painful periods since puberty. My aunt (a doctor) suggested that I go on bc pills. During that same time, a friend of mine was taking some (under careful doctor supervision) to control her PCOS, because the symptoms were ridiculously out of hand. Ever since going on the pills, however, she’d been an emotional wreck. It was horrible. Luckily, the doctor prescribed them only as a temporary measure. Anyway, after seeing how it could mess with hormones so badly, I opted out. She later gave me some medication that “cured” the acne but could cause a lot of other issues: sunburn easily, and liver damage. So, 2 months after starting it, and after sunburning in 3 mins one day, I opted out of that too. For some reason, I started upping my fiber+water intake. Lo and behold, my acne was reduced by like 80-90%. And the worst breakouts were traceable to a specific brand of granola bars and sugar binges.

      Here’s what I just found out recently: sugar cravings during a part of the cycle is rather common in women who also get PMS. It’s triggered by underregulated insulin, which is caused in part by not having enough of a specific hormone (prostaglandin E1), which is caused by deficiencies in magnesium, B vitamins, and/or zinc. Too many trans fats can also harm this hormonal balance. In fact, hormonal imbalances that cause PMS issues in general tend to have the SAME kinds of deficiencies as a root cause!

      As for my friend with PCOS, she was happy to finally be off the pills. They were a good (and probably necessary) step, but it was when she made some nutritional and exercise changes that she started noticing serious improvements…even though some of those changes weren’t implemented until years after the pills.

      Out of curiosity, what NFP did you use, if you don’t mind me asking? I know doing the data for each doesn’t stop imbalances or tumors alone, but some methods are supposed to be pretty good for pinpointing problems. :/


      • Stjarna Spámaður

        You’re right, BC helps to suppress the symptoms like Dayquil, so its pointless, I guess. In that case we should stop giving people who suffer from cancer pain medication because it manages part of the disease rather than curing it. Do you not agree?

        Do you understand that these diseases are uncurable? I hate when people say “I knew a person who had this and they were okay” – these diseases come in levels of severity and stags. Not everyone is the same.

        My disease has no known cause but is believed to be genetic. My uterus, ovaries, bladder, upper/lower intestines, spinal column, stomach, and even my lower lungs are covered in lesions of endometrial tissue. This is the tissue that lines your uterus and sloughs off when you menstruate. It is and has been on every single one of my major internal organs since I hit puberty. I have been treated for everything and seen every kind of specialist. It took 6 years for this disorder to be treated because no one even bothered to think that it was a menstuation issue.

        I will be in pain for the rest of my life. BC allows me to manage this pain in addition to the other measures I have take. What measures, surely they must be lazy and misinformed and slutty, right? I took Lupron when I was 19 which induces hormonal menopause. This caused my bone density to shrink so rapidly that 8 months later I tripped off a side walk and shattered 3 bones in my foot,spending a year in a cast. Worth it. I’ve also had two laparoscopic procedures to destroy the cells. They will continue to come back probably for the rest of my life.

        Trust me, I don’t want to continue to be a “sinner” by taking a medication to heal my body. I would like to have a hysterectomy, but despite my infertility at 31 I am still denied this surgery because “women don’t know any better and you will change your mind about children” despite the fact that this very doctor knows I cant have them.

        Being closeminded and hateful helps no one.

  • Josie B. Machovec

    So, SO true. I have been saying this for years now. And when I was doing NFP (now pregnant with a planned baby!) I felt so much more empowered. Because of doing NFP I know when I was pregnant, I am hyper aware of my body and know if something is “off” which has already helped my midwife nip small preganacy issues in the bud before they developed. I’m not saying someone using chemical birth control isn’t in touch with her body the same way, I’m saying that I’m not reliant on anything other than myself and my partner to be a good partner in this to control my fertility (well as much as I can, somethings are beyond our control), isn’t that the definition of empowerment?

  • greenishgal

    Thank you so so much for this article. I’ve always sort of laughed when we insist on spending double the amount on hormone free meat but will ingest hormones straight-up for most of our fertile lives! I used the pill for a long time, then switched to the copper coil when I started becoming weary of hormones. But the heavy periods were a lot, and honestly, I was scared of having a forgine device implanted in my body! I’ve been using the Fem Cap with chemical free spermicide called Contragel for about a year now and I’m really happy with it! I also track my fertility on a Cyclotest monitor. NFP/FAM are are modern and backed by science – its a shame they get such a bad wrap because of the old ‘rhythm’ method. At first, working out a natural birth control system seems like a lot of work, there are multiple peices, but like so many of the other ‘chrunchy’ paths I’ve taken, this one is well worth the extra effort.

  • Melissa

    “Women have been duped into giving men sex without commitment…” – OK, other than your statements that imply that women only have sex to *give* to men to keep them around, this is a good article. I’ve been using the temperature-only version of FAM for years, and I love it. I skip out on the other indicators, because they are qualitative, and I prefer something I can quantify (like temperature), and it works!

    I tried a ton of different types of hormonal contraceptive when younger, and they all made me not just depressed, but kind of crazy. It pisses me off when medical professionals state that that is rare and unexpected when it is such a common experience and narrative amongst women I know!

    I also feel sorry for all the women who miss ovulating for so much of their lives. they are missing out on a regular boost, or natural good-high during the week leading up to it, not to mention the heightened libido which makes sex so much better.

  • Rachel

    Nice article and great points. I actually think the author could have gone much deeper!

    One obvious point in a natural/organic lifestyle-pursuing women (such as myself) not seeing birth control as a logical choice is that it is most certainly the ONLY medication we take that actually makes us sick rather than well. Fertility is a sign of good health, and birth control rejects fertility and actually makes us ill. When I’m putting so much energy into my own wellness, why would I shell out a substantial amount of money making myself ill?

    And to those that say birth control helps symptoms or issues that they have that make them feel ill, I would say there are plenty of natural remedies.

    • Malia

      You are wrong in your assumptions. Natural remedies do not help manage a myriad of issues that birth control can. Look up the actual science behind birth control pills before blindly jumping onto a band Wagon.

      • Gloria

        Birth control pills do not treat the underlying cause. While they can be beneficial when compared to the illness, you’d have to be pretty bad off and the pill is more of a last resort. E.g. a close friend of mine diagnosed late with PCOS, and by that point she was bleeding so much, continuously, that she was becoming anemic. The only doctor who diagnosed her (textbook!) PCOS prescribed some pills, but they were only intended as a temporary measure. When she got off them, she wasn’t cured. She just wasn’t in crisis mode anymore. But she made some dietary and exercise changes and started noticing some surprising improvements…even when those changes weren’t implemented until years after the pills.

        Look into “Fertility, Cycles, and Nutrition” by Marilyn Shannon. While I’m usually wary about nutrition books, so far the points in this one seem to mesh pretty well with what friends and I have discovered by accident over the years…

        • Malia

          Well I was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer- a much bigger issue than PCOS. Birth control doesn’t treat it, of course, but does prevent it. There is tons of scientific backing on this. Could BC have prevented mine? Possibly. I’m 30 and was shamed into never taking it so we will never know. And I have 101 “I had a friend” examples of people who found Birth control very effective when exercise and diet changes didn’t help. I know people who spent years suffering because they were shamed into not taking BC and felt immense guilt for not being able to “cure” themselves with diet and exercise. Even after spending tons of money on naturopaths and other natural methods. Bottom line, many hormone driven illnesses are treated with birth control. The end. Don’t even get me started on how long I went trying to “cure” my symptoms with diet and exercise. It was by chance that a doctor discovered I had ovarian cancer. Before that I was continuously told my symptoms would go away if only I changed my already highly active and healthy lifestyle.

          • Jude

            Of course, at the same time you are increasing your risk of breast cancer. In this society no one is “shamed” into not taking birth control.

          • Gloria

            Well, cancer is a totally different caliber altogether. One of the things my friend’s doctor mentioned is that the pill could help reduce her high risk for developing that cancer, too.

            Do you think, though, that there are a lot of other things the hormones *are* over-prescribed for? I hear of a lot of people being prescribed them for acne or more mild forms of cycle irregularities. Obviously some people need more hard-core treatment than others, but don’t you think that at the same time, the Pill is used too much as a “cure-all” solution even if other methods WILL work for the person, and maybe even better? Perhaps hormone supplementation other than the pill? Or that a lot of doctors won’t bother to dig deeper to find out what the problem really is (like it sounds happened to you, with the late cancer discovery) because they symptoms are “cured”? :/

            Just a thought. And of course, this applied to all sorts of medications. Hormonal contraceptives just seem to be such a large part.

  • A.B

    I just wanted to say that I am (culturally) Catholic and used birth control for a number of years (age 16-27 approx.) to regulate my cycle. I did use it also for birth control for the last few years. I stopped recently because I discovered that am very very gay and was so repressed by my Catholicism that I didn’t see it. My only concern about birth control is that it has possibly feminized me more than I would be otherwise, by increasing my circulating estrogen throughout my development. I identify as genderqueer, and I am so happy that I am free to choose who I love and cherish.
    Also, for all the outraged Catholics in the crowd, I’ll have you know that God and I are totally on speaking terms.
    If God is all-knowing and all-loving and all-forgiving, how could he possibly condemn people for earnestly making the best decisions they could make in their lives for themselves and those they love? There are bigger things to be righteously angry about.

    • GinaRD

      Wait, let me get this straight — you were repressed by a church whose teachings you weren’t even obeying? How does that work?

      • A.B

        Sorry for not being clear. I was on the pill (not for birth control reasons) throughout my adolescence, but did not use it as protection in the context of sex until I was 23. In those years between, I attended catholic school, lived in a catholic dormitory at college and generally tried my very best to be a good catholic. I always felt like a failure, because I was playing a part that I was not built for.
        No one within the churches I attended, that I can remember, ever had a response to someone coming out other than rejection; our choir director lost his job, a person at my high school was teased and taunted, my friend was kicked out of his home and shunned. I know that is not the ‘teaching’ but that is the practice of many Catholics, and it deters a young person from even considering that being gay or queer is an option.

        • Gloria

          That’s horrible! 🙁 And it is definitely *against* Church teaching.
          I know there’s a ministry called Courage for people who identify as LGBTQ and want to live according to Church teaching. Sort of like the Catholic version of PFLAG. Heard good things about it, but have never attended any, so can’t speak from personal experience.

    • Jude

      I’m not outraged in the least. I’m actually still scratching my head over the idea that somehow the Catholic Church that you were not listening to about contraception or heterosexual fornication repressed you from realizing you were same-sex attracted. Sort of a selective repression then? God only condemns us for knowingly turning away from his will for us. Once you have been given the knowledge, you don’t have invincible ignorance to fall back on.

      • A.B

        Sorry, to clarify: i was completely unaware that i even could be gay until about age 26. And I started birth control pills long (age 16) before i ended up in a committed long term relationship with a man, when I did end up having sex with him (age 23). I was prescribed them for my very irregular period and painful cramping, not as birth control.
        Now that I know, now that I am out, I have fewer issues with my body and with God.
        I also know deep down that I am not called to the religious life; I’ve prayed on that. I feel comfortable in my own skin for once in my life. It has meant shedding some of the rituals of my faith and hiding parts of myself from some of my family’s closest friends, but I am not hiding in ignorance. I have finally seen the light.

  • anonymous

    Hasn’t anyone considered homosexuality as a cure to this whole problem?? It works for me!!

  • Renee West is a device that does all the calculations of Natural Family Planning for you. Did you know that there are only about 10 days a month you can get pregnant (unfortunately, it is when most women are the most horny and interested in sex)? It is used widely in Europe and Canada and has the same prevention rate as condoms and conventional birth control, you still have to be cautious with STD’s though. It is super easy to use, doubles as an alarm clock and if you are looking to get pregnant, can help with that as well.

  • Alex

    been holding in the snark, but it is making me super cranky, so I need
    to respond. Let me show you why this article is problematic.
    I would like to acknowledge that maintaining a natural lifestyle and
    continuing to take hormonal supplements /does/ appear to be a conflict
    of values. That bit is reasonable.
    HOWEVER the support for this article is /supremely/ sexist.
    “For example, some pros: attracting and keeping a boyfriend/husband
    with the allure of sexual activity, free of the natural consequence of
    sex, a baby.”
    Because, of course women don’t want to have sex because /they/ like sex. It’s all about attracting a man. Right.
    “It is important to note here that there are isolated and fairly rare
    cases where the birth control pill is used to treat an illness”.
    yes, the incredibly isolate and rare case of severe cramping and other
    PMS symptoms. And those few select people who suffer from acne. So rare.

    3. Let’s talk about this BS interpretation of the T-shirt test. Generally, women men who have MHC counts to smell better.…/studies-explore-love-and-the…
    actual study found that ”Women who are not taking oral contraceptives
    and who are dissimilar to a particular male’s MHC perceive his odor as
    more pleasant than women whose MHC is more similar to that of the test
    man,” Dr. Wedekind and his colleagues wrote in the Proceedings of the
    Royal Society of London, where the results were published in 1995.
    of men with dissimilar MHC reminded the women of their own mates or
    former mates twice as often as did the odors of men with similar MHC.
    However, if a woman was taking oral contraceptives, which partly mimic
    pregnancy, this predilection was reversed, and they gave higher ratings
    to men with similar MHC. ”The Pill effect really surprised me,” Dr.
    Wedekind said in an interview.
    It’s about genetic compatibility for healthy offspring, not circumstantial attractiveness.
    5. “Women have been duped into giving sex to men without commitment.”
    Again with the women can’t like sex thing? Really? Are we still perpetuating this idea?
    There’s no substantial proof (that I can find, so if you can find a
    reliable article, please link me) that says BC lowers libido. From what I
    saw, it looks like only 10-40% of women on BC report lowered libido,
    while some report raised libido.

    • Gloria

      I’m only going to reply to your 2nd point because it’s the one I’ve had personal experience with. A lot of these issues are due to imbalances that can be traced back to NUTRITIONAL deficiencies.A relative (doctor) suggested the pill to me because of painful periods and near-constant acne I’d had since puberty’d hit. A close friend was taking the pill to get her PCOS symptoms under control, but they turned her into an emotional mess, so I opted out. Some time later, for whatever reason, I upped my intake of fiber + water and viola! Acne decreased by about 80%. And the worst breakouts were traceable to a specific brand of granola bars and sugar binges.

      Here’s where it gets even more interesting. Women who get those sugar cravings tend to get them because of under-regulated insulin, which is due to insufficient hormone prostaglandin E1, which is caused by a deficiency in magnesium, B vitamins, and/or zinc, among a couple other things. Other PMS symptoms have the SAME kinds of deficiencies as their root cause.

      And for the friend with horrible PCOS, she discovered more holistic ways to help control it, a lot of it base on eating habits, and she’s been able to maintain relief since getting off the pills. Of course, this doesn’t always work as well for everyone, and for some people hormonal bc is pretty much necessary to control it, but I think the point is, too many people have accepted the “easy” cure instead of finding out what’s wrong to begin with. And it’s especially sad when they have a problem that can be actually fixed, and fairly easily.

    • Chrigid

      #2–fibroids, endometriosis, cysts…

  • Nora

    I know the harmful effects of birth control. I started taking it in my early 20’s when I started dating my first boyfriend for the reasons stated above. I went off it when I stopped dating. Ten years after I stopped I was admitted to the ER for anaphylaxis. After a battery of tests it was discovered that I was “allergic” to my hormones. This would’ve never happened if I hadn’t taken birth control. I was the 10th woman in the US who had this happen. I believe from personal experience that BC is poison. The only cure for this condition is to have a hysterectomy, oopherectomy, go back on birth control (which is what I’ve had to do) or have a baby, one day I hope!

  • Stjarna Spámaður

    Your so called extremely “rare” diseases that the pill is used to treat aren’t so rare. Any time you are in a room with 10 other women, chances are ONE of them has endometriosis or PCOS. Both of these disease occur in 10% of the female population respectively. These disease are not inherently comorbid meaning that out of 100 women, 20 of them use hormonal birth control to help manage a potentially crippling disease. We should just ignore them though because they are stupid whores, right?

    This views support causing others pain and suffering for a disease they did NOTHING to deserve! I’m a whore who’s been duped by men for taking a medication to ease my suffering? Do you know what it is like to be in pain to the point where you hallucinate, vomit till it becomes blood, and lose control of your bowels?! DO YOU!? That is the type of pain that severe burn victims feel and that is what severe endometriosis feels like.

    It sickens me. I am very spiritual, how could ANYONE who believes in the teachings of Jesus Christ say that type of thing? It makes me so sad that people believe this. You judge me, you call me a slut for being born with a genetic disease with no cure and attempt to make it impossible for me to treat that illness and turn around and say “love thy neighbor”?! How can you call yourself a Christian and say and think such a thing?! This is why I left the Church long ago and became a Universal Sufi.

    Even if I didn’t have a disease that caused crippling pain AND infertility — A baby is a consequence? That makes me so sad that you think that way. Is not a baby a blessing? A consequence? Why suffer the children as consequences for your own selfishness and close mindedness? It is sad. This is not what Jesus taught.

  • mainegirllfriday

    I use mine continuously, because I hate the stinky filthy nasty mess of a period. I am not married and don’t intend to have children, but if I were having intercourse regularly BCP wouldn’t be my choice due to the concern of possible abortifactant effects. NFP works very well for most of my married friends.

  • Kayt

    What this article doesn’t take into account is the many people using birth control for health reasons. The pill was not created to prevent pregnancy but rather that was a side effect. Many women switch to the pill after trying countless drugs to help endometriosis and in the end the pill is the healthiest route with the least amount of side effects. I personally eat healthy and will buy organic and am on Nuva ring and will swear by it since I can actually attend school rather than flunking out due to absences.

  • erickajen

    great post! i love it! i had the pill for years – it made me nuts – overly angry and freaking out over stuff more than normal. i had the IUD, that gave me depression and anxiety and i couldnt get pregnant without a progesterone shot a year post removal.
    we’ve used fertilitycare and i cant tell you how helpful that is. not only are we watching to avoid (also can use to acheive) pregnancy, but i feel great, and if anything goes wrong down there, ill know about it and i have a teacher and my doctor who will know what to do to help figure it out and fix it. its a whole body health system. it is fabulous, and im so glad that this kind of information is spreading.

    people claim that all these BC methods are about womens rights, but they arent. they are about SHUTTING OFF women’s natural body systems. natural methods are about teaching you about your body and your fertility and your health and NOTHING is more empowering than that!!

  • Nicole Lascurain


    I thought you might find this interesting. Healthline has compiled a list of the Effects of Birth Control in a visual graphic and I thought you and your readers would be interested in seeing the information.

    You can check out the information at We’ve had good feedback about the article and we think it will benefit your readers by giving them med-reviewed information in a visual way.

    If you think this information is a good fit for your audience would you share it on your site, , or social media?

    Let me know what you think and have a great week.

    All the best,
    Nicole Lascurain • Assistant Marketing Manager
    p: 415-281-3100 | f: 415-281-3199

    Healthline • The Power of Intelligent Health
    660 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94107 | @Healthline | @HealthlineCorp

  • Emma

    I use a diaphragm with spermicide. No hormones, doesn’t inhibit enjoyment, and no abstaining half the month (which is why I would hate NFP) It was kind of a pain to get a diaphragm and I wish they were more widely advertised and available.

  • kag1982

    Oh..God.. What a horrendous post. First, I’m glad that you have condescendingly decided that your form of slut shaming isn’t slut shaming. And yes it is. Second, women actually like sex. There are whole series about women on TV like Sex and the City because of birth control finally being able to celebrate and enjoy sex rather than thinking about getting knocked up. Removing sex from pregnancy has led to the dangerous argument that rather than being frigid princesses women are as into it as men. Lastly, I have lady’s problems myself. They are common and painful. I have enjoyed pucking during my period. The Pill is the best way to treat them. Sorry that the fact that 20% of women have “rare” birth defects and cannot be the broodmares for Jesus you desire.

    BTW, this is so going in my collection of condescending conservative Catholics reproach everyone else.