1968: Pope Paul VI issued his landmark encyclical letter Humanae Vitae (Latin, “Human Life”), which reemphasized the Church’s constant teaching that it is always intrinsically wrong to use contraception to prevent new human beings from coming into existence.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops USCCB: Emergency “Contraception” and Early Abortion:
A woman who uses EC after unprotected sex clearly intends to prevent pregnancy. However, she may be quite unaware of “where” she is in her cycle (i.e., whether or not she has ovulated). Although she may not intend to abort, the drug’s action of altering the endometrium to interfere with implantation may in fact abort the developing embryo.
Natural Family Planning (NFP)
NFP is a reliable method of birth regulation which is effective, medically safe, inexpensive, and morally acceptable. Studies have demonstrated that the method is very effective in avoiding or achieving pregnancy when it is properly taught by a qualified teacher and then correctly applied. NFP is not to be confused with the Calendar Rhythm Method, which was not able to account for cycle irregularity. NFP is medically safe with no harmful side effects and can be easily learned and practiced.
The basis for NFP is the couple’s knowledge of their naturally occurring cyclic phases of fertility and infertility. Men are ordinarily fertile at all times. During each cycle a woman normally becomes fertile and then naturally infertile. As this happens, her body provides certain signs or symptoms which indicate her fertility or infertility. Couples learn to observe, record, and interpret these signs with a very high degree of accuracy. They can then use this awareness to either plan or postpone a baby accordingly.
Using NFP offers a shared responsibility by both the man and the woman to understand and use their combined fertility and their total sexuality. NFP teaches loving cooperation of both partners in using all aspects of their sexuality — physical, spiritual, intellectual, creative, and emotional.
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