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Philosophy professor talks about methods of contraception, advocates natural family planning

Topics like sex and money have traditionally been private family issues, with that of birth control being especially sensitive.

According to philosphopy professor Dr. Randall Colton, natural family planning, though traditionally embraced by the Catholic Church, has a place in the discussion of family planning among Protestant circles.

Colton discussed why all Christians should embrace natural family planning.

According to Colton, the major difference between a contraceptive couple and the NFP couple is not the long-term goal of postponing pregnancy, but the immediate actions that lead to postponement.

“The criticism is that the contraceptive couple and the natural family planning couple are not different because in either case you are still postponing pregnancy. The contraceptive couple uses a device and the NFP couple uses a chart,” Colton said.

Junior Angel Gallardo and fiancé Katie Brotherton heard the Coltons speak on NFP at Windows on the World on September 17 and wanted more information.

“[NFP is a] wholistic approach to sex, the way to give oneself completely,” Gallardo said.

According to Colton, evaluating how pregnancy is avoided is based on moral principles and two basic objectives.

“There’s the immediate intention and the further intention of postponing pregnancy: the action I choose and the long term goal,” Colton said.

Colton explained that the contraceptive couple chooses to sterilize the marital act by suppressing the natural fertility cycle of the woman’s body through artificial hormones, like the pill.

A spiritual and philosophical component is involved when a couple chooses to practice NFP. Colton explained that both husband and wife can have equal roles in the ability to create new life at all times.

“One of the goals of marriage is unity,” he said. “Since we are embodied creatures, our union in the marriage act is our shared capacity to procreate.”

This type of unity is not possible with a contraceptive, according to Colton. Political science professor, Paul Brink disagrees.

“It’s hard for me to see how a decision not to have intercourse when a woman is fertile is so morally different from having intercourse while she is on birthcontrol,” he said.

Colton explained the difference.

“The hormonal contraceptive changes the body so you aren’t sharing the capacity fully with each other,” he said.

Colton believes sex is an important part of the good news of the gospel that is written into our bodies.

“We didn’t always see it this way. It was for us a process and a journey,” Colton said, in reference to his own marriage.

“[My wife and I] don’t think that everyone will agree. Nonetheless, from this new vantage point it’s not just one way among others.”

From the Coltons’ perspective, the benefits of NFP outweigh the potential negatives.

“[NFP] has given us a helpful picture of marriage as a whole and the total self gift of what marriage is supposed to be,” he said. “It’s made us more aware of the little things that we give.”

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