Myths and fallacies about ABC usersBirth Control in the Catholic Church

October 28, 2002, 07:30 PM
Myths and fallacies about ABC users
What follows is list of myths and fallacies about ABC users that I've had thrown at me in dialogues during the past five years I've edited the Birth Control and the Catholic Church web site. Feel free to add to the list, or to dispute.

A. ABC users are control freaks when it comes to sex and openness to life!
-- Perhaps, speaking as one who used NFP for 15 years, it's no different really than checking for cervical mucous, vaginal temperature, counting days, etc. to try to insure that no pregnancy will occur.

B. ABC users treat fertility as a disease.
-- See response above, which suggests an effort to try to avoid the "fertility disease" in sex acts.

C. NFP allows couples to take a break from sexual activity to develop other aspects of their relationship while ABC discourages this.
-- Actually, ABC users can choose to do this when they desire, but NFP users are forced to do so whether that's their desire or not.

D. ABC users are not open to new life but NFP users are.
-- This is the biggest fallacy of all. NFP users are not open to new life (unless they're practicing it "in reverse") at the level of intent and in the structure of the act itself, which when used only in the infertile time cannot be said to be objectively open to new life. Like NFP users, ABC users are open to new life when they come to a time when they're prepared to bring children into this world.

E. NFP users have a greater respect for fertility than ABC users.
-- They have a greater *attentiveness* to fertility, but whether this can be translated as respect is another matter. ABC users often have a great respect for fertility, which is *why* they use ABC.

F. NFP users are more generous in brining children into the world than ABC users.
-- Which means . . . NFP doesn't work so well? razz Actually, that point has many exceptions. We have four lovely children--three during NFP years, and one since using ABC. I know NFP couples who have one or two kids, and even some who have none. I also know ABC couples who have five or six kids.

G. ABC poisons the body while NFP doesn't.
-- Depends, again, on what's used. Hard to argue that a condom, for example, poisons the body. And the hormones used in the pill are hardly poisons.

H. NFP is good for a marriage while ABC isn't.
-- I don't think the birth control method chosen by a couple is very predictive of marital success or failure. Find ABC couples who have the same rate of churchgoing as NFP couples and see what difference it makes. In addition, many NFP/rhythm couples have complained about how the method practically wrecked their sex relationship. You never really hear ABC users complaining about that. big grin

Responses? Go ahead, this forum software works.
October 28, 2002, 10:13 PM
I totally agree. Very well done.

I do believe NFP users are often more religious, but maybe that's why they're using NFP in the first place.
October 29, 2002, 07:52 AM
From what I see in my area, NFP uses are somewhat religious and very militant in their program.

Marital asceticism seems possible for quite a few people but not for all. (I think they, NFPers sometimes tend to look like thirtysomething tryouts for "American Gothic". A few look cool, sexy, hip, but not many.) This variace in the ability for ascetism with well intentioned people has been known for centuries. The why's and what's seem to have little rhyme or reason. I wonder sometimes about the "free will" philosophy; it may have limits.

I think fertility awareness has its benefits and I suspect it fosters communication. Some who fall short of pure NFP can start with some barrier use or kinky stuff. Perhaps some are just not cut out for any of this fertility monitoring.

ABC couples can abstain some from sex if they so choose but I do not think many if any do this.

NFP is good for many, possibly many more than currently us it. Whether or not NFP, or practical provedentialism should be the de facto rule in our time is debatable. We need more time to look at this. I do not think there is much present day relevance regarding issues prior to the 1930 Anglican congress or with the 1967 Birth Control Commission. This disregard for the past can work both ways on this issue.
October 29, 2002, 11:26 AM
Thanks for your comments, Michael and Anonymous!

One thing I'd say in reply to the issue of ABC users "taking a break" from sexual relations is that it's certainly possible to do so, especially if motivated by spiritual reasons. "Fasting" for the sake of spending more time in prayer, or having a deeper experience of solitude, can often be a boon to one's spiritual life, as St. Paul noted. And it's always nice at the end to "break" the fast. smile

Again, having practiced NFP for years, the abstinence called for is "mandated" by the monthly cycle, and not necessarily through any desire for spiritual growth. A couple might choose to take such a time for spiritual work, but that decision often felt forced, as I wasn't in a place spiritually to desire or even benefit much from it. The natural cycle simply wasn't ordained to regulate spiritual disciplines and to provide times for abstinence and indulgence. That's just too much of a stretch!
October 29, 2002, 11:31 PM
For another thing, ABC users don't necessarily make love twice a day just because they "can."

I would say, from MY standpoint, that perhaps ABC users do not feel prepared to have children because they are not financially strong enough yet. As a result, they work or go to school a lot to try to get ahead, and as a result of THAT, they haven't got as much time for love-making as they might prefer. Adding another obstacle to physical intimacy, the fertile period, which such couples know they must avoid for their own sake and for the sake of their children, is another strain on an already strained area of marriages.
October 30, 2002, 01:55 PM
Good points, Jessica. If the Church is willing to concede to a couple their right to make decisions concerning the spacing of children, then She is recognizing that if they decide to do so, then they really are, at that time in life, not open to having one. Generally (not always, of course), they have good reasons for doing so. Adding to this the extra stress of *possibly* becoming pregnant anyway because of some misreading of the monthly cycle is experienced by many couples to be an unnecessary and undesirable risk.
November 11, 2002, 01:14 PM
Those pesky true-isms!
Please let me respond to your list of "myths"

A) Of course they are mostly concerned with control. They want to be in control of when they can have sex, when they will have a baby, etc.

B) Yep, must be a disease, taking a drug to stop it.

C) See A above, control....

D) Topic doesn't mention NFP, why the comparison? ABC users are not open to life they take pills or use mechanical methods to NOT be open to life, period.

E) Again, why talk about NFP, this is about Artificial Birth Control. Obviously anyone who doesn't take a pill or put on a condom etc, must have a greater respect for fertility (and life for that matter!)

F) Again, this obsession with NFP, get over it, but it does seem to be that a) NFP users have more children and therefore are much more generous to that affect, but again, NFP's not the topic.

G) Is this topic about NFP? Don't know how NFP could poison the body, but taking un-necessary drugs is not a good thing.

H) Here we go again. NFP, NFP, NFP....the statistics seem to suggest that those who practice NFP have less than a 5% chance of civil divorcing, while non-NFP couples have around 50%
November 11, 2002, 05:17 PM
Dad, most of the myths and fallacies were gleaned from posts and emails I've received from pro-NFP people, who fail to see that the very things they condemn about ABC can also be said about NFP in most cases. That was the context for the opening post, hence the many references to NFP.
November 11, 2002, 09:45 PM
Truer true-isms
Dad this one is for you, one more time...

Although the stats about low divorce rate and NFP are wonderful, it is possible to find for every NFP couple that stays married a lifetime 2 or 3 (perhaps more)ABC using couples who also stay married a lifetime. Of all married couples only a little more than half divorce and of all married couples only 3 to 4 % ever use NFP, as clarified at CCLI by Mr. Kippley himself.

Another thing I'd like to point out about your post is that you fail to demonstrate that NFP users are not guilty of the same faults listed here as ABC users. Furthermore, you fail to see that a couple can use either NFP or ABC and not be guilty of one of the things on this list. This is because the goodness or badness of a child spacing act relies upon intent.
November 12, 2002, 06:49 AM
James, Please review the subject, it is about ABC not NFP. As for the civil divorce statistics, I will grant that many, many more couples use ABC and as a percentage and as a total, many, many more couples get civil divorces that use ABC.

Your trailing paragraph sounds so much like my children when they are caught doing something wrong. Their reply is not that what they were doing is right, its that what their brother was doing was also wrong. Somewhat of a variation of everyone else is doing it!
November 12, 2002, 08:52 AM
Dad, you ignored my reply about the references to NFP. As the one who started the thread, I think I'm pretty well qualified to say what the thread topic really was.

If your point here is to be a stickler and say that the thread title mentions ABC but not NFP, and so references to NFP are irrelevant and off-limits, then, OK, you've said that. But you're missing the point of the thread completely, and haven't told us anything yet about why NFP users aren't guilty of precisely the same things they often ccuse ABC users of doing.
November 12, 2002, 05:45 PM
NFP compared to ABC
"Their reply is not that what they were doing is right, its that what their brother was doing was also wrong. Somewhat of a variation of everyone else is doing it!"

So then here you imply that NFP is just as wrong as ABC, but that ABC users should just "take responsibility here" and admit their wrong. Whereas, NFP users shouldn't be held accountable? Doesn't make much sense to me. I don't see anything sinful about using either. I'm not saying "they're wrong so we can do it to." What I am actually saying, is that when NFP users are pointing to the speck in ABC users' eyes, they should first reflect on the planck in their own eyes!