We have progressed far in science and medicine. Heart operations without breaking the sternum (breastbone), laproscopic surgery which enables us to do abdominal operations like a bowel re-section without the large incision and much less invasively.

Where are we, in this age of scientific miracles as far as artificial contraception? Not much farther than we were 10 years ago.

The chemical contraception is mostly accomplished through giving females extra doses of estrogen and progesterone. The so-called 'combined pill' offers LESS of a risk of heart attack, stroke and thrombosis but is still a risky business at best.

Norplant - the implants in the arm - assuming there are no other problems with removing them or adhesions forming, still uses the same old chemicals to effect contraception, estrogen and progesterone.

Because there are some studies which show that Progesterone increases the risk of cancer, the 'combined pill' or the other newer contraceptives do not say there is less of a risk of cancer.

Another problem with this type of contraception is that it doesn't always prevent ovulation. The jury still seems to be out about HOW OFTEN ovulation can take place. Some I have read, say 10-15 percent and others say more often than that. When ovulation takes place, pregnancy can happen but if the woman is 'lucky' her future baby will be aborted because it will be unable to attach to the lining of the uterus. If she's not so lucky, it will attach someplace else like the fallopian tubes (causing ectopic pregnancy, a deadly condition for both mother and baby).

There is the IUD (intrauterine device) - this is an object placed in the uterus which changes the lining of the uterus and prevents implantation of fertilized eggs. Not preventing conception but aborting if conception occurs. More than some folks find this a bit offensive, to say the least.

The condom fails too often for one reason or another and if one is using it to protect from AIDS, one might be disappointed because the material which condoms are made of, has flaws in it which could allow the AIDS virus to slip through. Remember it's a tiny tiny virus. We won't even talk about shields or spermacides. In my 30 years of marriage, I have only met one couple who could use these successfully enough to prevent conception.

Most people using contraceptives are taking the hormonal kind. It is said that an estimated 60 percent of Catholics use the hormones - a fact of ignorance because the Catholic church offers the only reasonable method of family planning available.

The fact that these women on the 'pill' face the risks of heart attack, thrombosis, stroke and cancer doesn't seem to bother them. Likewise the fact that the pill can, at least part of the time, be causing a fertilized egg to abort.

Covert Bailey says in his book that women taking estrogen and progesterone have a more difficult time losing weight because these hormones encourage the body fat level to go up perceptibly. I have thought, sadly, that if this fact became known, perhaps women might seek other forms of family planning. For retaining fat and becoming overweight is tantamount to, or even worse than, leprosy, in our society. We say it is the AIDS victims who are today's lepers but more likely it's the overweight people who are often treated worse than lepers were in Biblical times.

The bottom line, says Planned Parenthood and other advocates of the Oral Contraceptive, is that contraception cuts down on the need for abortions. We know that Planned Parenthood must like contraception - it's a big money maker for them. They make in excess of 120 million bucks a year from selling birth control pills (aw, comeon, you didn't think they GAVE them away, did you?).

It's interesting that new studies financed by (are you ready for this?) Planned Parenthood show the opposite i.e. that artificial contraception is causing MORE abortions not less. The Alan Guttmacher Institute, the research affiliate of Planned Parenthood, released a study on August 8, 1996. This survey of 10,000 women in 1994-5 showed that 57.5 percent of women who had abortions were using contraception during the month in which they conceived, up from 51.3 percent who answered a similar survey conducted in the late 1980's.

While the rates of abortion are relatively high among teenagers, this survey showed, surprisingly enough that some 78.5 percent of the women having abortions were over the age of 20 and 46.6 percent were over the age of 24. (reported in "THE LANCET", Aug 17, 1996, pg 469)

Interestingly enough, these results agree with a statement made by Alfred Kinsey during a 1955 Planned Parenthood sponsored conference:

          "At the risk of being repetitious, I would remind the group
          that we have found the highest frequency of induced abortion
          in the group which, in general, most frequently uses

In the Planned Parenthood international magazine, Jan 6, 1996, Dr Alfonso Lavergne, executive director of the Panama affiliate, stated that if "a woman has access to safe contraceptives, then the possibilities of a pregnancy are minimal." This, of course, totally contradicts the study just released. Giving Dr Alfonso the benefit of the doubt that perhaps he did not know about the Guttmacher survey at the time he commented, we still question his statement when we read a 1991 statement by the medical director of Planned Parenthood printed in the "Wall Street Journal". Dr Louise Tyler told the periodical that "More than 3 million unplanned pregnancies occur each year to American women; TWO THIRDS OF THESE are due to contraceptive failure." (emphasis mine). Is Planned Parenthood 'speaking with forked tongue' i.e. knowing one thing and telling its clients another?

What is the solution to this dilemma which all women face? It seems so simple. Outside of marriage, abstinence not only prevents pregnancy but promotes REAL relationships to develop between men and women, for sex is seductive and so often when the couple goes to the bedroom, the development of the friendship which is the necessary part of a successful marriage stops dead. Abstinence also preserves the dignity of the woman and prevents her from being used as a sex object by the man. Men who are interested in her for herself will stay around, men who are not, will go on down the road to find another sex object.

Countless men have said to me that although they were not virgins, they would sure like a woman who is. And the same caveats that my mother told me about years ago, are still true. A woman who has had sex before her current partner is rapidly suspect for cheating - she cheated on the last one, why wouldn't she do it again? (If you don't believe me, watch the talk shows!).

And we don't really need to say that abstinence also protects everyone from the spread of deadly diseases - not only AIDS but other STD's, some of which no longer respond to antibiotics.

All this from 'free sex'. Hmmm, doesn't sound really free to me. It's still true that men wanting sex will say anything to a woman. A recent government-issued booklet warns teenagers that there is no condom to prevent hurt feelings, the hurt of being used by someone - something which happens commonly in these days of 'sexually active' people.

Not only single folks should consider abstinence but also those whose friendships with their loved ones can never lead to a male-female marriage or those in marriage whose partners are unable to have sex. For these people, there are many other expressions of affection which can take place and do not carry the devastating side effects of fornication or adultery. Only less than 1/3 of the population have sex available to them at any given time. In this case, the 'have-nots' far exceed the 'haves'. In other words, if abstinence is the best for you, you are certainly not alone.

For those folks in marriages who wish to plan their families (most of us in these financially tight times), the answer - the only answer it seems to me, is Natural Family Planning. It's easy to learn (I speak from experience- comeon, I learned it from a book when it was called "Billings' Ovulation") and the couple both participates in the family planning. Both have a part and a say in when children are conceived for each partner plays his/her own special role. And shouldn't family planning be a decision of a couple and not just left to one member?

Practically speaking, the couple needs to abstain from sex 5-7 days a month and since there are 30-31 days a month (leaving 23-25 days of 'funsies'), this is a small price to pay for a form of family planning which is 100 percent safe i.e. NO RISKS WHATSOEVER and very effective, at least AS effective as 'the pill'.

Natural Family Planning makes the most sense. It works, it doesn't endanger you, it doesn't cause abortion, it doesn't make you gain weight, it's a decision of BOTH the husband and the wife... why would anyone want to use something else?

Sue Widemark


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