“People think that making contraceptives freely available will reduce the incidence of abortion.  That’s a myth.  The truth is exactly the opposite.”  Doctors John and Evelyn Billings told listeners in Halifax at the start of a lecture tour of eastern and central Canada.

The Australian husband-wife research team has developed the Billings (or Ovulation) method of Natural Family Planning, now accepted by the World Health Organization and used by over 40 million couples.

Earlier this year they lectured for several week sin Eastern Europe, Communist China, and the Soviet Union.  They were also among the keynote speakers at international congresses on the family in Buenos Aires and Paris.  “Everywhere we spoke there was a great interest in our message,” they said.

Enmity to the child

Over the past 30 years there has been a vast increase in the production and use of contraceptives, and in high-powered marketing campaigns to persuade people to use them.

In the same period, the incidence of sexually transmitted disease (STD) has reached what some describe as epidemic proportions, at times producing near panic as people struggle with the tragic impact on their lives, and governments struggle to cope with the ever-increasing demands on health services.

In addition, John Billings says, “we have seen the development of a most extraordinary phenomenon: an incredible enmity to the child.”

If the increased incidence of these developments – STD, contraceptive use, and abortion – was shown by a line graph, the lines would be almost parallel.  The very close connection between contraception and abortion was acknowledged in the report of the Secretary General of the UN Population Conference in Mexico City in 1984.

This connection is, of course, completely predicable.  When the technique used to prevent conception fails, it is totally logical to destroy the child who, under these circumstances, is seen as a failure rather than a marvel.

“In our travels we have noted that every organization in the world that provides contraception also provides sterilization and abortion,” the Billings point out.  In fact, funding agencies refer to “the birth control package,” meaning the “package” or contraception plus sterilization plus abortion.

We have also observed that nations around the world are becoming thoroughly disillusioned with the effects of modern family planning methods,” say the Billings.  “Thoughtful people everywhere are beginning to understand that by its very nature contraception is anti-life.”

Sexual intercourse is designed for the procreation of another life, as even a minimal knowledge of biology makes clear, and it carries out its design very effectively.  John Billings stresses, “There is only one way to be sure that your sexual maturity will not result in you becoming a parent.  That is by the total and complete avoidance of any genital contact with a person of the opposite sex.  There’s no other way at all.”

So whenever unmarried people engage in sexual intercourse, there is involved a very grave injustice to the child that may be conceived as a result, for such a child cannot be guaranteed reception into a loving protective environment.

“Young people – who are by nature very idealistic with a strong awareness of justice – should be encouraged to look at this particular injustice,” suggest John and Lyn Billings.

Many people can see that sexual activity with contraceptives is inappropriate for the unmarried, but consider it quite appropriate for married people in general, and indeed advisable for those with health problems.  In one lecture the doctors discussed the case of the woman virtually certain to die if she has another pregnancy.

Some people advise her to use a birth control method that is 100 per cent effective.  Given the acknowledged failure rates of the various methods, this is impossible.  But people refuse to accept that fact, and insist on placing their trust in one method or a combination of methods.

The reality is that if she engages in sexual activity during the fertile time of her cycle, there is no way of guaranteeing that she won’t become pregnant.  Dr. John Billings is very emphatic.  “I mean you can sterilize her, put her on the Pill…even at the same time!…and she can still become pregnant.  Unless the couple abstains totally from sexual activity during the fertile time, there remains the possibility that the woman will become pregnant no matter what method they use.”

The startling truth is that any set of circumstances serious enough to suggest the avoidance of pregnancy is too serious to warrant the use of something so unreliable as a contraceptive with its know failure rates.

Bit what of the couples with reasons other than health for avoiding pregnancy?  In giving themselves totally to each other in marriage, a husband and wife include the gift of their fertility, which is such an important part of their total being.  If they introduce contraceptives into that relationship, the gift is no longer complete, because one has withdrawn and the other has rejected that part of the gift of self.

“Over and over we have seen how that threatens the conjugal relationship, and frequently destroys it,” says John Billings.

Questioning that statement, one Halifax listener brought up the case of the husband who after weeks or months on a course of maneuvers returns home to find that his wife is in her fertile phase.  Wouldn’t using contraceptives enable them to continue their loving relationship and even enhance it?

No guarantee

“On the surface it would seem so,” Dr. Lyn Billings responded, and then presented additional considerations.  The husband who cannot restrain his desires during his time at home even though there is very good reason to do so, may cause his wife to wonder about his conduct while away from home.

The wife who feels pressured to use the IUD or the Pill despite their well-known ill effects, may become convinced that her husband cares more about his satisfaction than her welfare.  If she doe use contraceptives, the husband in his turn may wonder whether she is faithful in his absence.

Moreover, since no method has a 100 per cent guarantee, the wife may find after his departure that she is pregnant, and her husband may refuse to believe he is the father.

“So although the suggestion seems good, the use of a contraceptive in these circumstances could sow seeds of mistrust that could eventually destroy their marriage.”  Dr. Lyn Billings concluded, “It is better for couples to discover that genital activity is not the only way to love.”

More and more, people are recognizing that natural methods are the answer for any couple seriously wishing to avoid pregnancy because, without harmful side effects, they pinpoint the wife’s times of fertility, during which the couple abstains from sexual activity.  These are the two factors that make the Billings method work.

“If we’re talking about method effectiveness,” says Dr. John Billings, “it has been demonstrated repeatedly that no method is more effective than the Ovulation Method.”

Many people accept contraception and sterilization without considering that many social consequences follow inevitably.

For example, when we accept the legitimacy of intentionally sterilized sexual activity between husband and wife, we legitimize the pursuit of physical sexual gratification for its own sake.  Then we cannot logically condemn physically gratifying sexual acts that are sterile by nature. (For example, sex between two people of the same sex is of its nature, sterile).

This, says John Billings, is the logical progression that has led to increased tolerance of homosexual practices (now widely considered simply a matter of preference), with the consequent denial that a heterosexual act between husband and wife can in any way be defended as superior to homosexual activity.

In addition, to increase in STD and abortion and breakdown in family relationships, many other health and social problems are also beginning to be recognized as part of the contraceptive package.

Aggressive methods

In many countries, very serious social problems have been caused by the drastic reduction in birth rates.  (Contrary to widely circulated propaganda, most countries in the world are grossly under populated.)

Many people – governments too – have been persuaded that birth control will solve the problems of poverty.  That is another myth, the Billings maintain, pointing to India where very aggressive population control measures have been employed.  Their food production has begun to increase each year at a faster rate than the population, so that now India is able to export food.

“Many people in India are still poor.  Many are still starving.  But the problem is one of social injustice, not of population control.  Birth control never solves problems of injustice.”

The effects and the failure rates of all the artificial family planning methods are well known and well documented.  It is clear that using natural methods protects women from having to use artificial methods.  It is clear too that they promote fidelity and marriage and community stability, and help to cut the rates of STD, extra-marital pregnancies, and abortion.

The temperature methods of natural family planning has been around for over 40 years, the Billings/Ovulation method for 30 years – long enough for Communist China and the Soviets to become aware of their benefits and effectiveness.  Yet within our country they are like well-kept secrets.

If Halifax is typical, it’s no wonder.  All 26 media releases about the Billings lectures were ignored.  Apparently the media moguls agree with the Marriage Preparation leader who described NFP as “a return to the Dark Ages.”

And we think the Soviets are victims of propaganda!