Michelle asked:

Is Natural Family Planning considered contraception?

Colin Donovan replied:

"... There are some very traditionally minded people who have rejected a number of things besides Natural Family Planning today ... who would teach that. But there is no necessity that NFP is contraception. I can give you an example of how I would assume that in ninety percent of the cases it is not. But, NFP can be practiced for different motives. All NFP is, is the decision not to have relations during a fertile time ... that's all it is. NFP allows you to know when those are by the different methods: Billings, sympto-thermal, ovulation method and so on. It simply ... gives you more knowledge if you will of the cycles so that you can make that decision. But the use of natural family is the decision to use, have relations, at some times and not have them at others.

It can be used to get pregnant. I know that for a fact on at least two occasions. You can get pregnant using NFP. You can use it for contraception. Let's say a woman and husband together decide the pill is just too dangerous ... or I don't have any trouble with birth control but I found out the pill also causes abortions. I am opposed to abortion so I don't want to use the pill, but I'll use NFP and we're not gonna have any children ever. And they make that decision at the beginning of marriage, then the marriage is actually invalid as they aren't open to life. If they make it some other point of course it's sinful to do that and that's to use NFP in a contraceptive way. Just as you use a chemical which is neither good or bad, it's just a chemical it's a creature, and you use it badly and immorally to prevent conception ...

[People who are against NFP would say] the decision to use NFP is itself wrong because Catholics should have a generous family. A generous family is one which is you know, large. This is not what the Church says because every family, every marriage is going to be different. Every economic situation is different. In our culture of the generosity required to have a large family of somebody with a lot of money is different from a person who is dirt poor. And the Church doesn't impose a huge family, ten, twelve kids on a poor, but ... if very rich people have one or two kids and that's their decision well I don't know, you might want to think about whether you are being generous or not...

When NFP is used, the person does not choose to not have a child per se, but rather to have relations at a particular time, and nature has determined which means God has determined, that that time is not fertile... So the decision to use what God has provided is one thing. The decision to obstruct what God has provided is the ultimate contraceptive motive."


Catholic Answers, "Open Forum" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2013)

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Show air date: September 26, 2013

Name of show: Open Forum

Guest comments by: Colin Donovan

Question appeared in show: 41:53

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