I am writing in support of the Rev. Mark Gurtner’s explanation of the Catholic Church’s position on artificial birth control (March 3).
My husband and I are Catholic converts (and parents). We use Natural Family Planning, a reliable method that affirms the truth and justice of God’s plan for sexuality and is backed by science.
We use the Creighton Method, which tells us exactly when I am fertile or not. Each day we decide whether we can accept another child. Each day we determine whether intimacy is likely to result in pregnancy. Using NFP, we can space pregnancies to preserve my health, give our existing children enough time and attention and safeguard our family’s financial situation. Since this is a decision that we make together, our communication is stronger, we have increased respect for each other and we are growing in mutual self-discipline.
NFP has taught us that sexuality is more than just sexual intercourse. Sexuality is realized in our emotional, physical and intellectual interaction each day. To avoid pregnancy, we abstain from intercourse during fertile days, but we do not ever have to abstain from our sexuality. NFP does not deny it, does not repress it and does not vilify it. NFP merely requires a measure of self-control.
Following Catholic teaching and faithfully using NFP does not require women to have as many children as possible. What it does require is prayerful consideration between spouses before engaging in sexual intercourse about whether or not it would be a responsible decision to be open to God’s gift of life on that day. Spouses enjoy mutual respect of each others’ bodies and sexuality when they use NFP.
I encourage women to realize that we do not have to sacrifice our dignity, our sexual desire or our fertility in order to control the size of our families. There is a responsible, natural option for women who want to space their children or who need to avoid pregnancy altogether. Natural Family Planning restores the health and mutual dignity of sexual relationships and is rightly taught by the Catholic Church to be good for women locally and globally.