With the House passing a resolution/law/whatever to defund Planned Parenthood, so many of you (Sarah and Calah to name just a couple) have been writing your thoughts on not only the defunding issue itself, but about just what Planned Parenthood is about.

I'm slightly embarrassed to say that until recently I, naively, thought that a place called Planned Parenthood would encourage women to, well, parent.  It was just last week that I for the first time ever visited their website, and also looked to see where the closest one to where I live would be located (I had the impression they were in every town across the US).  I was somewhat surprised to realize that the closest is in Pittsburgh.  But I then realized, that with the exception of providing abortion services, our local Health Department offers much the same information regarding birth control (I can't speak to what advice they would offer a young woman who was pregnant and not happy about it, so I won't even make a guess.)

And, as I read Sarah's post especially, I felt my familiar feelings of anger about not being given information about NFP before last year.  And really, I was never given the information, I sought it out and I found it.

And I found myself struggling to not succumb to the anger and the feelings of 'it's not fair' and 'it's not right.'  Because on one hand, those feelings are completely counter productive.  I can choose to be upset and angry that I never had the information until recently.  I can blame myself for not taking a more proactive role in learning about my body.  I can blame my parents for not taking the time to teach me or share resources with me.  I can blame my parish for not requiring NFP information prior to getting married.  I can blame our Sponsor Couple for not sharing the information.

OR, I can be grateful to know what I know now.  I can be grateful for this community that has time and time again shown me I'm not alone and it wasn't 'just me'.  I can be grateful for a diocese who is sponsoring our trip to become NFP Instructors and who wants to help us spread the word.

OR, I can get angry again.  I can get angry at the medical community for not sharing this information.  That there is a BETTER way than birth control.  A healthier, more reliable, safer way.  I can get angry at  Catholic Churches for not standing up and SHOUTING that there is a BETTER way - a better way to respond to our fertility, a better way to respond when a woman finds herself pregnant without planning it, a better way to so many things.  I can get angry at parents for not taking the time to educate themselves AND their children.

OR I can tell myself 'Rome wasn't built in a day'.  I can tell myself that I'm doing my part.  I can tell myself that the information is out there if only people would look for it.

Finding balance is so hard.  And finding the right way to keep balance is so hard.

As much as I would like to think that anyone who was shown the proof that NFP works to prevent pregnancy would use it, I know for a fact that they all wouldn't.  As obvious as it seems to me now, I'm not sure it would've seemed so obvious to me 10 or 15 years ago.  I know it wouldn't have.  I wasn't raised with Theology of the Body.  I wasn't even raised with a good understanding of the Catholic Faith.  The foundations were there, but it wasn't until adulthood that I searched out the whys, hows, and whats for myself.

So what about other adults who have no foundation?  Will some learn and change their minds?  Yes, will everyone?  No.  So where is the balance between anger and doing what I can?  Where is the line between living what I believe and preaching it?  Between sharing what I know and forcing my thoughts on others?

Between using my free will for good and taking the free will of others?

What will be the ultimate effect of defunding Planned Parenthood?  Only time will tell.

For now, I am praying hard for balance.  Balance between being just outraged enough to do something and paralyzed with anger.


  1. I've been where you are...and I go there more times than I care to admit. Remember that we're up against the forces of evil when it comes to these things. The temptations that tell people they should do what "feels good" and shouldn't be "held back" by whatever (the church, their fertility cycle, etc.) Our culture is in deep with some pretty bad practices in the realm of sexuality. It will take loads of time, TONS of prayer, and open hearts to begin to see a change. I do think we're seeing the beginnings, though, because lots of women are becoming fed up with the side effects of contraception and some people really aren't okay with sterilization....keep praying.

    As for the de-funding of Planned Parenthood...I'm glad. No reason my tax dollars should support that organization. If abortion is so great and everyone loves the idea of it being readily available...let them get their money from THOSE people. (okay, won't fill up your combox with anymore of THAT!)

  2. I agree strongly with this post ~ and most especially with the 'Rome was not built in a day' sentiment. That is how I get passed much of my frustration ~ I am a married who practices NFP happily, who speaks positively about it to the engage couples we teach during Pre-Cana, and will teach my daughters/nieces when appropriate ~ and will pray that those ripples will meet with other ripples to grow and grow.

  3. Excellent last line.

    And I didn't realize you were going to start teaching NFP - good for you! Way to practice what you preach in this post :)

  4. Thanks for this post. I too often feel caught between anger and action, especially as it has to do with pro-life. I live two blocks from an abortion clinic and I have never gone there to pray because it is just too.hard. But I get so angry about what goes on there. Boo.

    This is great, Rebecca.

  5. Oh my gosh! I had no idea that you weren't taught about NFP. I'm so sorry. It was one of THE things that our lovely priest who baptized and confirmed me and presided at our wedding talked to us about.

    It makes me angry, too. I've been tempted to go into parishes and start asking the priests if they realize that their congregation doesn't know that they're not supposed to use birth control. It's frustrating. I don't think that not being angry is an option, actually. We should be angry that so many women are walking around, absolutely clueless about their faith. But, yeah, we have to do something too. I think it's fantastic that you're going to become an NFP teacher. That is really awesome.