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Friday, April 8, 2011

Modern NFP is NOT Rhythm

Modern NFP not rhythm method

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 21:22:00 04/07/2011

THERE IS so much misunderstanding of issues surrounding the Reproductive Health bill and we partly know why.

It is not correct to say “the Church wants couples to use only the rhythm or calendar method of family planning.” (“Priests not speaking out enough vs RH bill,” Inquirer, 3/30/11)

This is a very simple but important detail supplied as background information by Inquirer news reporter Philip Tubeza—and therefore presented as if factual. It forms part of the misunderstanding between proponents and opponents of the RH bill. Its frequent mention in local media affirms a US-based study on why there is widespread ignorance and prejudice regarding Natural Family Planning (NFP).

The media, along with many healthcare professionals, are uninformed about modern methods of NFP like the Sympto-Thermal Method, the Ovulation Method, or the Billings Method; so they group the various modern natural methods under the title “rhythm.”

NFP methods are “99 percent to 100 percent effective” in avoiding pregnancy, according to studies done in the United States, but this remains unknown to the general public. Many people including health care providers are skeptical of anything natural, and instead they tend to lean toward drugs, surgery and devices. They find it difficult to believe that ordinary married couples can understand their mutual fertility well enough to achieve the same effectiveness associated with powerful drugs.

Contraceptive advocates worldwide have been unfair in their treatment of NFP. Old rhythm studies from Latin America with low effectiveness rates are repeatedly cited, but a recent and well-designed study by the US federal government showing 100-percent method effectiveness of modern NFP is ignored or misquoted.

The organization Families Against the RH Bill espouses the use of these modern NFP methods, which have been proven more effective than any artificial means and are absolutely safe; and these methods promote respect for women. Women are made aware of the power of their fertility, which is liberating, as opposed to the bondage of artificial birth control methods that suppress normal body functions.

It is encouraging to hear reports that President Aquino is in favor of “modern methods of family planning.” But how much does he or his advisers know about these modern natural family planning methods? An information campaign on these modern NFP methods will not cost the government much, and requires no legislation.

We hope to be able to identify more of these common misconceptions about the people’s objection to the RH bill—not just the Church’s—for a better discussion of the issues. We trust the media will do their part.


Families Against the RH Bill

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