Thursday, January 28, 2010

UPDATE: FORMER PP wants more NFP- Time for Catholic Docs to Step Up!

UPDATE: It has come to my attention that SHAA was formerly affiliated with Planned Parenthood.  This does not change the fact that within the pro-death culture, there is an increasing awareness that NFP and FA just might be something people want and need....

In recent months, there has been new attention given to Natural Family Planning and Fertility Awareness Methods in the secular world.

The pill has served for decades as a symbol of the feminist push for “reproductive freedom,” but in the most recent of the two articles, published yesterday in Canwest papers across the country, the SHAA director criticized the medical establishment for its pill-focused approach to contraception.

"What I see in our communities is an absolute failure to move beyond the idea that hormonal birth control is the be-all and end-all," said Laura Wershler. "What's happening is we're not developing support, programs and advocacy for women looking for non-hormonal methods."

"There's this lack of knowledge and understanding within my own field," Wershler continued, referring to natural methods of birth regulation that involve awareness about the woman’s reproductive cycle. "Women are going to sexual-health clinics and being laughed off by the doctors and clinics for looking for alternatives."

Featured on the homepage of SHAA's website is a link to a November 2009 Maclean’s Magazine article, describing why women are “ditching” the pill.  They point out some of the health concerns that have been raised, such as the April study from Texas A&M University that linked the pill with poor muscle growth, as well as mentioning parenthetically the research that has linked the pill with breast and cervical cancer.

Another reason for the shift away from the pill, Maclean’s says, is a greater cultural concern for natural products, as evidenced, for example, through the rise of organic produce.  “There’s an emotional identity attached to achieving your own menstrual cycle, and being able to read your body,” one woman explained. “When you’re on the pill, it’s the doctor who’s controlling your cycle. You don’t own it.”

Coming from Planned Parenthood, this is HUGE!  It is important, as Catholic physicians, to recognize that not only are there more Catholics who are using NFP but also more non-religious individuals.  It is more critical than ever to become familiarized with the various methods available to individuals.  If we are going to be able to over come the culture of death, we must first convince individuals that artificial contraception is simply not the solution.  To find out more about the history and damage of contraception, see Janet Smith's Contraception: Why Not?.

As Catholic medical professionals, we have an obligation to know how we can better serve our patients in this area of medicine.  So I encourage you to take the time and find out more.  My wife and I have become NFP instructors with the Couple to Couple League, and we are simply thrilled.  So, please, check out the links!

Here are some useful links:
• BILLINGS Ovulation Method:
and Creighton Fertility Care
• SYMPTO-THERMAL at Couple to Couple League:
CyclePro Charting:

More posts on this topic will DEFINITELY follow!


  1. I was also very excited to hear these words coming from Planned Parenthood. I mean, can you imagine Planned Parenthood and the Catholic Church agreeing on such an issue?

    It would be fantastic, and I also agree that those in the medical community need to step up!


  2. I think this is due also to the increase in natural remedies and homeopathic medicine practices. More and more women are becoming aware that their bodies are naturally made to have cycles, to bear children, to provide food and nourishment for those same children, as per our physicality. It's about time Planned Parenthood (and the rest of the medical world) came around, imho.

  3. Laura Wershler1:58 PM

    Hello everyone. May I offer a friendly clarification concerning this post that references the news story in which I was quoted. The first and most important thing is that I am the Executive Director of Sexual Health Access Alberta (formerly [2006] Planned Parenthood Alberta, a very small educational and advocacy organization, not a clinic). SHAA is a member of the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health. SHAA does not speak for or represent in any way the views of other clinics or sexual and reproductive health organizations, nor any Planned Parenthood affiliate or associated organization. SHAA facilitates access to accurate, comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information, education and services through its programs and activities. Fulfilling this mandate includes a commitment to ensure that women have access to accurate, comprehensive information about all birth control alternatives, including natural methods.

    I have been a proponent of (secular) fertility awareness for 30 years and have advocated for access to information and services for women to learn fertility awareness based methods of birth control throughout my long association with sexual and reproductive health organizations. With the emerging trend of young women looking for alternatives to hormonal contraception, I see amongst my colleagues a burgeoning interest in providing information and services to help women effectively and confidently use non-hormonal methods. These include the IUD, cervical barriers and fertility awareness methods.

    Although the context in which I work differs greatly from yours in many ways, and there are many areas of disagreement, the friendly response from NFP associated individuals and organizations to my expression of support for improving access to information about natural birth control methods has been encouraging. Thank you.