Philippines contraception conundrum & why NFP may take a while to pick up in the third world

I read a lot of NFP news and have been following this story as it broke out and the subsequent discussions . This is what I gathered from what I was able to read . The Philippines is a populous nation , the government would like to make available family planning methods both artificial and natural so that families can be able to better “ plan” their family size and hence cut down poverty .

Since it is a predominantly Catholic nation , the Bishops are up in arms and have tried to hold talks with the government which seems to be bent to passing the “ Reproductive Health Care” Bill that would make these services available . I have not heard any news about NFP and whether it has been available and if it has been available why there is still a need for access to Artificial Family Planning methods

THIS story has caused me to draw parallels between the Philippines and the third world from where I hail . NFP is a good thing but in Patriarchal societies it posses several challenges . Let me highlight a few:

1. In situations where saying no to sex with your husband ( for a valid reason ) will make him look “elsewhere”  how exactly can a married woman practice NFP ? Unfortunately in these same situations there is no one to hold men accountable to their wedding vows and the looking elsewhere often comes with a host of its own problems like HIV and STDs so women often use pills in secret anyway

2. NFP sometimes requires periods of prolonged abstinence especially in the postpartum phase and if a woman needs to work often to support both her family of origin and her new family hence needing to postpone pregnancy she is often between a rock and a hard place.

3. Women will always bear the outcome of not abstaining – which in some cases is a pregnancy not the gentlemen so until we have societies where men respect women and value their opinions NFP is going to take a while to take off and women will probably use the option that provides temporarily relief – which in this case is not NFP .

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  1. Mrs. Korf

     /  May 19, 2011

    Sorry I disagree with most of your rationale (I call them excuses and cop outs)

    1. If he is going to cheat on his wife it doesn’t matter what she does he’s going to cheat anyway. Getting sex on demand isn’t going to change that.

    2. Abstaining doesn’t kill you. I’d know I’ve been abstaining going on 3 months now. Just like virginity doesn’t kill you. I was a virgin for 27 years.

    3. There is an increase chance of “accidental” pregnancy (no pregnancy is an accident) in countries that use contraceptives. There is also an increased chance of the spread of sexually transmitted diseases because men are more likely to sleep around when there is a perceived safety net.

    So actually contraceptives have no improvement in life, it’s all just a lie that they have been feeding us and we are falling for it both in the developed world and in third world countries.

    • Hey Mrs Korf !!

      Nice to “see” you . I was just stating the situation as it is excuses and copouts included 🙂 not defending it. I happen to believe that continuing to be sexually available out of fear is a recipe for disaster in fact all it does is enable badly behaving spouses to continue to do so .

      However , i have found in practice that trying to tout the benefits of NFP to a lady in such a situation often just comes off as being uncharitable or non empathetic which does nothing to further NFP when in fact what she needs would be something else like babysitting.

  2. really interesting points, R. i’ve looked at the situation in Philippines and totally agree with what i think you’re say here too…its not just about parroting why NFP is great and perfect, but about providing other cultural changes that will literally help these families live this life, which DOES require a change. i feel the same way when i talk to my very fertile friends (and you?) and help them try to use NFP postpartum. You can say as much as you want that NFP will strengthen your marriage and if your husband is going to cheat he’ll cheat anyway, but people still need compassion and support and real help to make it work during those difficult times.
    i watched an interview on a woman in the philipines using NFP one who was working full time as a maid with her 5 kids saying that she will never use contraception because she knows its evil. seeing how that woman has so many pressures against her and yet her faith remains SO STRONG makes me think that we western women really do have it so much easier. how to help still exists though?

  3. cultural changes!!! _ Thats it . Thats what i have been trying to say in this long winded post !


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