My first encounter with Planned Parenthood was during my freshman year of high school. A campus building displayed a faded, outdated sign reading “Planned Parenthood” with no context. By the time I attended that school, PP no longer stationed services there. I passed by the old sign wondering what it meant. Based on words alone, I assumed Planned Parenthood was a service conducted by the nurse’s office to offer prenatal care to pregnant teenagers. I mean, what else could it constitute?
Fast forward to my sophomore year of college, and my pro-life activism – which involves educating myself and others on issues regarding the nation’s largest abortion provider – is in full swing. A few days ago, Cecile Richards (president of Planned Parenthood) posted a Twitter thread insulting natural family planning as an alternative to hormonal birth control or barrier methods. One of the tweets read:
“You know what we call people who practice the rhythm method? Parents.”
Okay, let’s dissect this message. First of all, let’s define natural family planning: a form of preventing or achieving pregnancy by monitoring a woman’s fertility throughout her cycle. The rhythm method, which uses the length of a woman’s period to predict ovulation, was once considered a form of NFP. However, the method has proven unreliable since it doesn’t factor in hormonal changes that may delay ovulation (such as stress and lifestyle changes). There are currently two main forms of natural family planning: the Creighton method and the basal body temperature method. The Creighton method tracks fertility by monitoring mucus secretions on a daily basis. The basal body temperature method, as the name states, works by recording a woman’s body temperature to observe peaks and drops in fertility.
The difference between these two and the rhythm method? These actually work. Richards most likely didn’t consider them in her tweet.
So, why did I just give a mini spiel on natural family planning? Because it’s a form of birth control. And birth control is a concern of the pro-life community. Hormonal birth control may act as an abortifacient if it fails in preventing fertilization. Barrier methods do not pose a threat to human life, but they may conflict with some couples’ moral values. When planning or preventing parenthood, it’s important for people to know ALL of their options to decide which is best for them.
Cassie Guardiola is a sophomore Marketing major at the University of Texas.