Mind-bogglingly Dense Article about NFP in Scientific American


…published in Scientific American yesterday,

…should only be read if your blood pressure can handle it,

…has the intensely ignorant title: “Modified Rhythm Method Shown to Be as Effective as the Pill—But Who Has That Kind of Self-Control?

…quotes an OB/GYN: “‘I chafe at the term “natural family planning,”’ he says. ‘For many couples this is highly unnatural. “Natural” is methods that you don’t have to think about, that allow you to be spontaneous…. STM is very unpopular, hard to use, and has a poor success rate in average couples. Most people aren’t willing to put up with it.’” … (birth-control-prescription money, much?)

…isn’t very well balanced with maybe 80% anti-NFP quotes vs. 20% pro-NFP quotes, and weak ones at that.

Read at your own risk.

Maybe we should start a letter-to-the-editor writing campaign.


Thanks for posting the article. It doesn’t surprise me. Too bad they didn’t talk to “regular” people and even dr’s who support and use NFP. Not a well done article at all.

this is the only relavent contact info I could find:
Send a letter to the editors at ScientificAmerican.com: editors@sciam.com

For general comments about the site: comments@sciam.com

Anybody have anything better?



Every single “quote” on that article is negative…

GRRRRR… :mad:

My husband has been published in SA with a letter to the editor in the past… I’ll ask him how he submitted his letter…


I really love this quote “all observers agreed that STM can only work for couples who stick to the plan 100 percent.” Isn’t that the case for ANY form of birth control. Condoms only work if you use them every single time, you can skip days of taking the pill, etc.

It’s all about the money. People aren’t going to make lots of money by selling one thermometer to a couple and a calendar. Whereas pills and condoms are expensive.


Frank-Herrmann acknowledges that one U.S. study conducted in 1980 in Los Angeles had a 90 percent dropout rate after less than two years.

This is so misleading. It doesn’t say the reason 90% of them dropped out. They ASSUME it is b/c they didn’t like it. How about they wanted to have a baby so they got pregnant therefore making them ineligible for the study. Give me a break.

How about at the end he talks about not pushing one method over another. Ok that’s fine, but how about giving your patients all the methods, not just the ones he cherry picked. Does he offer it to his patients? If not, then he is pushing one method over another.


The bottom line: all contraceptive methods have their drawbacks, including the potential of passing along the HIV virus and sexually transmitted diseases best prevented by condoms. Ultimately, Grimes says, “the best method for a couple to use is whatever they want. It’s counterproductive to try to steer people to one thing or another.”

Ok, the HIV virus and STDs are not a worry to most people who use NFP since they’re almost all married and tend to be faithful to their spouses.


Might I suggest you are being too harsh?

I admit the article could have done more to show the positives of STM. For example, they should note that all research on birth control is based on best case scenarios. He hints that the study is some how dishonest, when in reality all ABC does the same thing.

**I have no idea why people have this rosey happy-happy-joy-joy view of NFP.:confused: **Many couples do find STM to be just as he describes: unnatural and difficult. It wouldn’t surprise me to find 90% drop out. Sure some simply decide to be more open to conception, but most probably do go on to use ABC. To act as though none of that is true would not make STM better. Rather, admitting it and continuing to refine the methods to relieve those issues for users seems a more practical concept.

I found it great that he is looking at it honestly and willing to discuss it with patients. Most drs don’t even know what NFP really is, much less suggest that it should be offerred to women as a choice. He sounds like he is being honest with his patients. This is a difficult method to use perfectly for some, but it is free, in line with religious beliefs, and does not involve medical/medicinal intervention.

I also liked that, although they did note the religious perspective, they also noted that many women are just using it for basic health reasons. I have found this to be a growing thing in the natural health crowds too. Using NFP is not always about religion. For many, it is simply a healthier choice than any other birth control method on the market.

**Honestly, I’ve read a whole lot worse than this just this morning.:shrug: **


The problem is that Scientific American purports to be an “everyman’s” scientific journal and has effectively published an opinion piece to try to blunt the damage done to the “NFP doesn’t work” position by the recently published STM study and to try to distract from the growing awareness that a method which relies on temperature and cervical mucus to determine fertility is simply not the same thing as the Calendar Rhythm Method of old.

[quote=article] “Many of the authors of these studies have religious orientations,” he says, “and that clouds the motivations.”

This is the big red flag. The potential religion of the authors of a study are not a legitimate criticism in and of itself unless the religious group in question has an established history of faking results that warrants skepticism (e.g. the South American “archeology” of the LDS attempting to find proof for the Book of Mormon comes to mind) and those guiding the study did not include and invite verification from other parties. This is not the case with NFP studies now or in the past, thus the religion of some (most) of the authors isn’t a legitimate reason to knock the results of the study in and of itself. Instead, this is an instance of SA continuing to pander to the anti-religious sentiments that is held by most of its editorial board to a degree that they are willing to compromise their “scientific” part of their name in order to try to shore up the acceptability of their personal philosophies. If this was in Time magazine I wouldn’t blink, but in SA this type of presentation is hypocritical to he very name of the journal.



“Many of the authors of these studies have religious orientations,” he says, “and that clouds the motivations.”

I suppose the author did not reveal his own method of choice. Since that would reveal a potential bias that he has. See, if the author of the article uses ABC, he would have a motivation to justify it’s use. Otherwise he would look like some weak slob who lacks the self control of those who have mastered NFP.

Pitiful creature.


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