7 Things Charting Taught Me c/o Cassie Wilson

Natural Family Planning and Fertility Awareness Method are typically associated with married couples trying to achieve or avoid pregnancy…. but fertility awareness encompasses more than pregnancy achievement/avoidance. It’s a refreshing, holistic, reverent way to view the body of a woman and the way it is designed.

Cassie Wilson, a young adult Catholic, shares what she has learned through charting her cycles and diving deeper into the understanding of her feminine genius. Click here to read about what she learned.

You can follow her on twitter @cassiedrajw

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Women Speak for Themselves

If you aren’t signed up for Helen Alvare’s emails, sign up. Who is Helen Alvare you ask? Helen is a woman who works to make our voices heard – the voices of women who value religious liberty for all people. She organizes women so that we can proclaim in a unified voice that we deserve better than contraception and abortion. In her emails, she provides excellent talking points and highlights major concerns regarding religious liberty and the well-being of women. You can sign up for these emails on her website called Women Speak for Themselves. Let’s follow Helen’s suit, and make sure that we are doing our part to protect religious liberty! Start by signing up for her emails today.

Men, please continue to stand by us and to help make our voices heard as well. We need your support and strength in this battle. It may be helpful for you to know what’s going on in the Women Speak for Themselves campaign – so feel free to sign up for the emails. For those men and women who are unfamiliar with the HHS Mandate and the serious threats it poses against religious liberty, here is an overview: http://womenspeakforthemselves.com/our-work/talking-points-mandate-and-religious-freedom

Lastly, here is an excellent (but 53 minutes long) talk that Helen Alvare gave regarding Religious Freedom and Sexual Liberationism. It is very relevant to the HHS Mandate issue and our culture as a whole. If you have the time to watch this, it is definitely worth it.

Seat Belts and Contraception – What’s the Difference? by Mark Gonnella

There seems to be an irrational confidence in the use of contraception.  In the modern age, the use of contraception is accompanied by the blithely deluded comfort of ‘Well, at least they are not getting pregnant!’  This achievement, as well as the prevention of most STDs, has contraception being touted as a staple of modern medicine with unremitting alacrity.  It is the preferred alternative–nay, the    only perceived alternative–to unprotected sex.  Abstinence is outdated and oppressive.  We are sexual beings and should be allowed to act according to our own nature.  For the secularist, such statements induce no qualms of conscience; but for the Christian, they should.  There is a reason why prior to 1960, there were only two commonly known sexually transmitted diseases, and now over 25 venereal diseases are identified: people are having sex more frequently and recklessly because contraception promotes such behavior.

Contraception promotes promiscuity because it vilipends the sexual act; it makes the serious act of sex into a causal one. Many sensible and intelligent individuals, like Pope Paul VI, knew what contraception would cause because they knew what contraception promotes: a sexual license.  Paul VI in Humane Vitae remarks on this fact in a compelling paragraph that is worth quoting fully:

Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings — and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation — need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection (HV 17).

It grants the individual all the pleasures of sexual intercourse without the consequences and responsibilities.  It tells the voracious child that he can eat all the candy in the store without getting sick.  But, alas, far off in the distance comes the shrill repartee of the enlightened generation.  They contend that contraception does not promote promiscuity inasmuch as a seat belt does not promote car accidents.  Upon the sound of the final syllable being uttered, laughter fulminates from the enlightened peanut gallery.  The matter thus seems to be settled, for, prima facie, this argument seems solid.  After all, preventive measures do not necessitate that one engage in the action that causes the effects from which the measure prevents.  Bulletproof vests, they will say, do not promote people to shoot each other.  Seemingly, then, this argument settles the dispute.  However, the intuitively conscientious person wants to object to this argument; they know that something is amiss.

The argument that contraception does not promote promiscuity inasmuch as seat belts do not promote car accidents seems sound only because it is deceitful; the argument is not strengthened by logic but by casuistry.  The reason why this argument is false is that it rests on a false analogy.  The intent is to fool the reader to focus on the category of instruments, namely, that both instruments (i.e. seat belts and contraception) act as preventive instruments.  Thus, without further inspection, the argument seems logical because of the congruity of intent of the instruments—each one acts as a preventive measure.  After careful analysis, however, one will immediately see the incongruity of the two acts.  Sexual intercourse and car accidents are qualitatively different experiences. To compare the two in a positive argument (i.e. x does not do this because y does not) presupposes a factual error: that without the preventive measures, both experiences are equal.

Let us unpack this argument further.  The sexual act has two primary negative consequences: unwanted pregnancy and unwanted STDs.  Car accidents have many negative consequences, but two primary ones, assuming that you are driving alone, are serious injury and death.  Clearly, the severity of the consequences of each respective act differs greatly, but the real qualitative difference is what precedes the consequences.  As mentioned above, the sexual act is a pleasurable and desirable act, while car accidents are not.  Whether the preventive measures exist, the former will still be a pleasurable and desirable act and the latter will not. The absence of the preventive measure will not make the sexual act any less pleasurable or desirable.  In contrast, without seat belts car accidents are still undesirable and painful.  Nothing changes with the addition of the preventive measure.  The seat belt may prevent the person from being ejected from the vehicle, but the car accident itself, with or without the seat belt, is still painful and undesirable.  The difference, then, between the two acts (the sexual act and a car accident) is that the experience of the sexual act does change with the addition of contraception–for contraception drastically limits the possibility of the two negatives consequences from occurring.  The car accident is still painful, there is still a high probability of injury to the person(s) in the car, and the damaged car is still a burden to the person involved, even if he was not severely harmed in the accident.

To put it simply, seat belts mitigates the negative effects from an undesirable act (a car accident); contraception greatly decreases the negative effects from an otherwise desirable act (the sexual act).   Therefore, one may argue, that the sexual act becomes more pleasurable and much more desirable with contraception, while a car accident does not become more pleasurable or desirable with seat belts.  The vulnerability of the sexual act is removed, for the person using contraception feels like he is in control of the act.  By greatly decreasing the chances of potential negative consequences, i.e. venereal diseases or unwanted pregnancy, the person believes that he can reap all the pleasurable benefits of the sexual act.  However, it is clear that contraception does not always work.  The issue, though, is not whether it objectively removes the potential negative consequences of sex, but rather it makes people think it does.  This is why it promotes promiscuity because it promotes an inflated confidence in contraception, that one can have the thrills without the dangers, and this illusory feeling of invincibility makes one more inclined to have sex and to have it abundantly.  In contrast, seat belts do not precipitate reckless driving, for the seat belt does not remove all the negative consequences of a car accident, and thus it does not invoke a sense of invincibility; the driver is still vulnerable to injury.  At the very least, the car accident is a large inconvenience for the individual even if severe injuries are avoided.

Clearly, you can see how the comparison between the sexual act and car accidents is a foolish one to make.  The only way that this argument would work is if the two experiences were similar.  If car accidents were comparable sensationally to having sex, but still had the consequences of headaches and whiplash, then the invention of seat belts would make many car mechanics quite wealthy.  However, the fact remains that car accidents and sex are not sensationally comparable, and thus they cannot be compared.

C.S. Lewis’ Reflections on the Sexual Appetite by Mark Gonnella

Sex is an odd thing to discuss during war.  Yet it was precisely this topic that was discussed on October 11, 1942—in the midst of the turmoil of World War II.  The discussion was a BBC broadcast given by C.S. Lewis in which he discussed the matter of sexual morality in the Christian tradition.  I highly doubt that a man of his genius would broach a subject he deemed to be irrelevant to the times.  For Lewis, the ongoing physical struggle of World War II did not supersede the ongoing spiritual struggle for the soul of England—a struggle unremitting since the Fall.  Today we lack a systematic physical war, but we most certainly do not lack a spiritual war.  Sex is still important. It is still something that needs to be discussed, only I fear that I may not be the one capable of discussing it.  So, I hope you will allow me to stand upon the shoulders of Lewis and rebroadcast his incisive discussion on sexual morality and what this means for us today.

Lewis is no sanguine Christian; he knows the condition of man, and he knows the difficulty of modern day ‘sex-talk.’  Not a man to typically mince words, Lewis plainly asserts that “Chastity is the most unpopular of the Christian virtues” (Lewis 95).  The reason for such unpopularity is that it seems substantively contrary to our nature: the most ‘natural’ inclination to modern man is his sexual inclination, and anything to the contrary seems oppressive, counter-intuitive, and Victorian.  Lewis is aware of this disposition and he thus approaches the problem logically—he proposes the only two tenable answers left to this quandary: either Christianity is mistaken in its sexual morality or our instinct has gone amiss.  Clearly, Lewis argues that it is the latter that is in error and he proceeds to delineate his argument by appealing to nature itself:

The biological purpose of sex is children, just as the biological purpose of eating is to repair the body.  Now if we eat whenever we feel inclined and just as much as we want, it is quite true most of us will eat too much: but not terrifically too much.  One man may eat enough for two, but he does not eat enough for ten.  The appetite goes a little beyond its biological purpose, but not enormously.  But if a healthy young man indulged his sexual appetite whenever he felt inclined, and if each act produced a baby, then in ten years he might easily populate a small village.  This appetite is in ludicrous and preposterous excess of its function.

Lewis is appealing to the Natural Law, the law inscribed on our hearts and which is a reflection of the eternal law.  In other words, Lewis is arguing that we are directed to a particular end and therefore our nature reflects the means by which we obtain that end.  Lewis is essentially saying that just because we have natural appetites does not mean that they are under our whim.  Complex things come with instruction manuals, and there is no doubt that sex is a complex thing.  It has a few purposes, but Lewis just focuses on its biological purpose, which is procreation.  But the question Lewis is concerned with is whether we should indulge in something simply because it is there, and if there is such a thing as too much indulgence.  Lewis affirms that there is such a thing, and modern man’s indulgence in his sexual appetite has reached the level of excessive.

Anyone who reads Lewis knows that he has a penchant for images, so it is no surprise that Lewis buttresses his original claim, that our sexual instinct is perverted, by employing a thought-provoking analogy:

Now suppose you come to a country where you could fill a theatre by simply lifting the cover so as to let every one see, just before the lights went out, that it contained a mutton chop or a bit of bacon, would you not think that in that country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food? And would not anyone who had grown up in a different world think there was something equally queer about the state of the sex instinct among us? (Lewis 96)

Lewis responds trenchantly to the objection that, perhaps, if such a world existed, it would only reveal a societal state of starvation—that the preoccupation with sex is not due to corruption but to starvation.  However, given the number of abortions each year, the sales revenue for the contraceptive industry, and the degree of sexual saturation in our media, it is quite difficult to argue that we suffer from sexual starvation.  Another invocation that this image renders is the fact that many, I would hope, who came across such a civilization would instantly know that something has gone wrong with the appetite to eat. If not pornography but films of steak and eggs littered our internet, if magazine covers proliferated with photos of sandwiches and salads, if men spent hours each day looking at videos of women making roast-beef sandwiches, there is no doubt that it would become clear to everyone that there is a pandemic of a perverted appetite for food.  If this would be the case, then why is it so difficult to discern that our sexual instincts have suffered the same fate? Lewis’ answer will most undoubtedly perturb the modern mind: “Contraceptives have made sexual indulgence far less costly within marriage and far safer outside it than ever before” (Lewis 97).  Perhaps, in addition to spiritual decay, the reason why the sexual instincts perversion is so hard to detect is that we now have means to make such detection difficult. If means were created to mitigate the effects of obesity or, even, eradicate them altogether, and if there were machines that would reproduce food to avoid famine, then the perversion of our instinct to eat would be quite difficult to detect as well.

Another reason for this difficulty, Lewis argues, is the fact that “for the last twenty years, we have been fed all day long on good solid lies about sex” (Lewis 97). In contrast, the reason why food obsession is more obvious than sex obsession is because we have not been inundated with lies concerning food, and thus we all know the consequences of food obsession, such as obesity, gluttony, and using up precious resources.  There is no propaganda extolling us to eat as much as we want when we want to, or that it is “natural” to eat profusely.  However, lies about our sexual appetite have been proliferating for centuries, with more complexity and vigor than ever before.  The consequence of such proliferation is inflation.  The sexual appetite, like any other appetite, grows by indulgence, and the underpinnings of such growth, of our actions, is a false ideology—an ideology that says the problem is not active sexual appetites but inactive ones, that the reason for the present mess, if it is indeed still called a mess, is our many years of repression.  Freud wanted to liberate our sexual appetite from its societal coma, but what he really liberated was our ability to reason and our reliance on our conscience, which in turn enslaved us to pop psychology as a means to solve the mystery of human nature.  Lewis responds with the simple observation:

They tell you sex has become a mess because it was hushed up. But for the last twenty years it has not been. It has been chattered about all day long. Yet it is still a mess.  If hushing up had been the cause of the trouble, ventilation would have set it right.  But it has not. I think it is the other way round. I think the human race originally hushed it up because it had become such a mess.

The reason why Christianity is not looked to as a repository for sexual instruction and edification is because people, quite falsely, assume that Christianity has nothing to offer to the discussion, that, in fact, Christianity is the cause of such hatred of sex and that the religion is antithetical to one’s sexual appetite.  However, Lewis contends that when people encourage others to not be ashamed of sex because of the act itself or the pleasure that it induces, Christianity follows the same script, and may even have wrote it:

The old Christian teachers said that if man had never fallen, sexual pleasure, instead of being less than it is not, would actually have been greater….Christianity is almost the only one of the great religions which thoroughly approves of the body—which believes that matter is good, that God Himself once took on a human body, that some kind of body is going to be given to us in Heaven and is going to be an essential part of our happiness..” (98).

However, the problem is when they mean that we should not be ashamed of the present state of the sexual instinct.  As Lewis argues, “If half the world made food the main interest of their lives and spent their time looking at pictures of food and dribbling and smacking their lips…” then there is something of which we should be ashamed (99).  There is nothing natural about the present manifestation of our sexual instinct; the oddest contradiction in our modern culture is that moderation is encouraged in almost every facet of life except in one’s sexual life.  If the present state of our sexual instinct were what is natural, then the natural course of action would have been gradual decimation of our species: for the sexual appetite is no longer life giving but soul-destroying.

Now the question remains: what are we to do with this mess?  Lewis offers an incremental solution to combating the immense sexual perversion of our society.  First, he wisely asserts that in order to be cured, we must want to be cured.  Physicians, much to their chagrin, must respect our wills.  The Grandest Physician must as well, for God cannot contradict Himself and thus He cannot break his promises.  He cannot grant us free will and then revoke it because we are too foolish to know how to use it.  The difficulty, Lewis argues, is that such a desire cannot rest solely on a verbal commitment, but that it must entail our whole being, for it is our whole being, not our language faculties, that is affected.  Lewis uses the case of St. Augustine to demonstrate this fact: St. Augustine, as you may know, wanted chastity and incessantly asked for it; however, chastity did not come so easily for St. Augustine, and this is because his heart contradicted his mouth.  As Augustine’s mouth begged for chastity, his heart silently asked for more time.

Lewis acknowledges the difficultly of praying for and seeking chastity, for he knows that everything in culture urges you to give up the inane quest and to stop resisting what is “natural.”  The issue, Lewis asserts, is not that Christianity’s demand for chastity outside of marriage is unnatural, but that it is perfectly in accord with what is natural and it is other principles which attempt to control nature that are artificial.  For example, the principle to indulge in one’s sexual appetites whenever one feels inclined is an artificial principle; it is influential because it is based on truth—the truth that the sexual act, in and of itself, is good and natural.  This truth becomes falsified when one adds, “whenever and however one wants.”  Lewis, however, is not unrealistic and is fully aware of the extent of our natural ability to overcome falsehood.  He knows the propagandistic culture, the fecundity of exposure to it, and the burnishing market for its display:

In the first place our warped natures, the devils who tempt us, and all the contemporary propaganda for lust, combine to make us feel that the desires we are resisting are so ‘natural’, so ‘healthy,’ and so reasonable, that it is almost perverse and abnormal to resist them. Poster after poster, film after film, novel after novel, associate the idea of sexual indulgence with the ideas of health, normality, youth, frankness, and good humour (100). 

With this in mind, Lewis remains consistent with his Christian realism: he does not pretend that we are capable of achieving chastity on our own, but that it is only with God’s help that this virtue may be realized.  Realizing still the difficultly of this, Lewis offers some consolation in the reality of our failure: “After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again. Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself but just this power of always trying again” (101).  Trying for chastity, when one realizes the essential nature of it, is not voluntary—rather it is necessitated by our very nature and by the world we live in. One cannot remain moderately chaste, for there is no such thing, and to attempt a middle ground approach in this world will result in a groundless approach; the ground upon which we stand is ever shifting and moving to perdition—to stand idly on it will only move you in the same direction.  Lewis is aware of what imprudence posing an ‘optional question’ to a self-disparaging student would be, namely, that faced with an optional question, one does not consider how one does it but whether one can even do it at all.  Faced with a compulsory question, the student is forced to answer it: the answer may be wrong, but the attempt alone will procure some points; you will doubtlessly get no points for leaving the question blank.  Lewis profoundly contends that “virtue—even attempted virtue—brings light; indulgence brings fog” (102).

Thus, as a Catholic, we cannot avoid the tension of attempting to be who we were created to be while attempting it in such an aversive and counter-virtuous world.  We must remember, “the Lord God is my strength; he will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills” (Hab 3:19).  The temptation to do otherwise may seem stronger, much stronger than your will, but it must always be remembered that being is stronger than non-being, life is stronger than death, and truth is stronger than falsehood.  The fact that temptations seem so immensely tempting is part of the lie that it is built upon.  St. Paul reminds us that God will never allow temptation to fully crush your will (1 Cor. 10:13), and that God will always provide the means by which we resist the temptation. The Church teaches that “human virtues acquired by education, by deliberate acts and by a perseverance  ever-renewed in repeated efforts are purified and elevated by divine grace” (CCC 1810).  Lewis’ wisdom reflects the wisdom of the Church in this regard.  Attempting virtue is always preferential to not attempting inasmuch as swimming to the coast is always preferential to allowing yourself to drown because the coastline seems too far.  We must not worry about our failure either, for failure in attempting to be like Christ will only remind us how much we need Him: “the only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less than perfection,” Lewis writes (102).  Perfection may seem like a foolish mark at which to aim, but this very mark is not a mark set by man but by God (Lev. 20:26), and God never breaks His promises.

Things Your Doctor may not Have Told you About Your birth Control

April, from the blog My Feminine Mind, recently wrote a thorough post on the various types of contraception and the side effects that your doctor may not have warned you about. These facts are not to scare you, but to provide an honest look at the physical damage that contraception can do to your body. Click on the link to her blog to read the post.

And thanks to April for sharing her knowledge and using her time to write this piece!

Is NFP Effective? by Ashlie Dill

Question 1: Does Natural Family Planning actually work to prevent pregnancy?

The short answer: yes.

The long answer: I understand why people may feel skeptical about the effectiveness of preventing pregnancy with NFP. Really, I do – because up until I started reading about it 2 years ago (and practicing it about 1 year ago), I thought NFP was just a lot of guesswork and rolling the dice. Since my cycles fluctuate in length, I thought this meant that I would not be able to use NFP.  I didn’t know that NFP did not rely on counting days (I was confusing NFP with the outdated Rhythm Method). I didn’t know that my body could produce consistent signs that would tell me if I was fertile or not. When I found out about fertile signs, I still was hesitant to believe that my body would actually give me readable clues to my fertility. I mean, come on. It does sound pretty crazy right? I also doubted my ability to understand the signs, even if they were there. Why?

With the rise of The Pill, we have received an increase of direct and indirect conditioning to believe that our bodies are not trustworthy; we’ve been told that our bodies do not possess a reliable capability to space out pregnancy without any chemicals or latex. Think about it. Think of all the messages you’ve received in health classes, from commercials, billboards, websites, the health center at your college: Use a condom. Be on the pill. You will get pregnant, so you NEED to practice “safe-sex.” Indirectly, these statements send a few messages –  one of which is that you are not capable of preventing pregnancy without these products. (And not to mention bigpharma companies are making a killing off of society’s dependency on their products.)

But it’s not true. You can prevent pregnancy with NFP and it’s highly effective. However, understanding and believing its efficacy depends on a thorough and accurate understanding of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Until you have a grasp of that, you will continue to possess doubts. After studying the menstrual cycle, you can learn how NFP works in conjunction with the natural fluctuations of a woman’s body in order to prevent or achieve pregnancy.

But don’t take my word for it. Before you launch into a comment-leaving rage, check out these other sites that discuss the effectiveness of NFP.

http://www.naturalfamilyplanning.ie/nfp-effectiveness/how-effective/

http://iusenfp.com/home/does-nfp-work/

http://www.lady-comp.com/en/page/effectiveness (this organization’s fertility monitor boasts a 99.3% effectiveness rate.)

Stay tuned for the next most frequent question on NFP.

Why do the Bishops and Other Catholics Oppose the HHS Mandate? by Ashlie Dill

On July 19th the Huffington Post published an article entitled Catholic Bishops Promote ‘Natural’ Family Planning Amid Battle Over Contraception Mandate.”  While I certainly have issues with the content of this article, I will choose to focus on the title because I believe that the title is misleading. It is true that the Bishops and many Catholic writers have taken the opportunity to write about and discuss Natural Family Planning (NFP). However, this is not simply a battle between NFP and contraception. While that conversation is one worth having, the Bishops’ (and other religious) opposition to the HHS Mandate goes far beyond the immorality contraception.

Targeting the Bishops’ stance on contraception is a way to distract Americans from the real problem that the Bishops have with the mandate. The true issue here is that our government is requiring that all employers provide health plans that include hormonal contraception, early abortifacient drugs and sterilization. These services must be provided by employers even if they have a religious objection to these services. Requiring that they provide these services violates their First Amendment right to the freedom of religion. Those who are opposed to the mandate are not trying to diminish existing access to contraception, even if they are morally opposed to the use of contraception.

In addition to having their religious liberty violated, the institutions that do not comply with the mandate will be subjected to heavy fines. These fines are not simply the coverage cost for birth control and other services, but an exorbitant amount. Here are the words directly from the CRS Report:

A group health plan that fails to comply with the pertinent requirements in the IRC may be subject to a tax of $100 for each day in the noncompliance period with respect to each individual to whom such failure relates. However, if failures are not corrected before a notice of examination for tax liability is sent to the employer, and these failures occur or continue during the period under examination, the penalty will not be less than $2,500. Where violations are considered to be more than de minimis, the amount will not be less than $15,000.

Yes. You read that right. That’s $100, per day per employee (from my understanding this only applies to women, since these “preventative services” are for women). That’s alot of money. Say you have 25 employees. Violation of the Mandate for just ONE day would cost $2,500. That’s not the end of it… There’s more in the press release from the Energy and Commerce Committee:

 Consequently, for example, if a self-insured religious charity or hospital with 100 employees chooses to exercise its religious rights instead of complying with the Obamacare mandate, it could be subject to a $3.65 million annual fine.

So, the reason the HHS department wants this Mandate is because they believe that a woman should have access to free birth control regardless of who her employer is. But if her employer chooses to exercise his/her religious freedom and does not comply with mandate, women (and men) will be losing their jobs because these institutions do not have the annual 3.65 million dollars to pay the government.  How is this really helping and protecting women? How is this bringing more jobs to the American economy?

Some people may say, “Well, women NEED birth control.” I disagree with such sentiments, but regardless of what I think on the subject the fact is that contraception is already widely available. State and federal governments devote hundreds of millions of dollars in annual funds to provide free or low-cost contraception to American women. 4,000 Title X clinics have provided contraceptives since 1970— 69% of clients fall below the poverty line. Over $300 million is annually given to PlannedParenthood and community health centers that provide contraceptives at low costs or free (Elise Kulik, presentation at the University of Michigan). Contraception is not scarce, and one who needs financial assistance can get it for very cheap, if not free. Why strip religious individuals and groups of their rights – rights that are supposed to be protected by the Constitution of the United States of America – to provide women these services that are easily accessible? In the video below, Representative Gowdy challenges Kathleen Sebelius (lady in charge of the Mandate) on whether she actually used the Constitutional Balance while drafting this Mandate and the ensuing “compromises” made for religious individuals and groups.

 

As the Bishops and others oppose the Mandate, please keep in mind that they are not necessarily seeking to reduce the access described above. They are not trying to make birth control illegal. They are begging the Administration to create an exemption that allows religious employers to act according to the beliefs of their faith – and in this case, that means not purchasing and providing birth control, abortifacient drugs, and sterilizations.

Many Catholics support universal healthcare, even some of the Bishops. But we cannot support this piece of it because it is in violation of our conscience and our Church’s teaching (a well known and well documented teaching, at that). When the government asks us to choose between our religion and the law, we will choose to obey God and the Church. Unfortunately, this likely means the closing of many Catholic and other religious charities, adoption agencies, hospitals and non-profit organizations. And as mentioned, this means the loss of jobs for both American men and women.

Please do more reading as I have only provided a very brief summary on this issue. Here are some links to helpful websites. Also, check out this video in which Helen Alvare addresses some of the issues regarding contraception, the government, religious liberty and the well-being of women.

Having a Minor Freak Out Moment by Ashlie Dill

Today is the day. The day that I have long awaited. It is the day (that the Lord has made and) that iusenfp.com launches! Give this site a look if you are at all interested in natural methods of family planning. And if you’re a little nervous about it, I think their information will help sooth your nerves.

This definitely ain’t your high school health class. The (awesome) stuff you can and should know about your cycle (or about your wife’s cycle) is explained throughout the website. Check out The Science of the Mucus for starters (and learn to love the word mucus. or fluid. take your pick). You can also find descriptions of the various types of fertility awareness and the science that goes behind it. They even have a quiz to help you figure out which method may be the best for you! Super sweet.

As you meander through the website, take some time to read the blog posts about people’s personal thoughts on NFP…including my absolute all-time most favorite piece by Simcha Fisher “How to Ruin Your Marriage with NFP” – and now you’re like whaaaaat? Ruin my marriage with NFP? Ashlie, I thought you said NFP is good for marriages? Read the article and find out what the heck Simcha is talkin bout…

Onto my favorite part: the store. I love the store because it has great products that promote environmentally friendly feminine hygiene and some awesome NFP tools (shopping + NFP = these are a few of my favorite things). I personally would love to invest in a LadyComp. Another plus about the store is that iusenfp.com will get 4% of the proceeds if you buy the products on their site (without raising the price for the buyer, mind you!). This money will go towards the mission and continuation of iusenfp.com. So you get cool stuff and support the site. Win-Win.

Follow @iusenfp on Twitter for updates.