THE ART OF NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING IN THE LIGHT OF JOHN F. KIPPLEY (A Philosophical Approach)
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
There is this popular perception that population growth impedes economic development and induces poverty; that it means increased infant and maternal death rates, and that it leads to environmental degradation and depletion of resources. Certainly, there are problems with poverty, poor health and overcrowding in some regions of the world; but could we then say that the world is simply overcrowded? Through the media, we are all familiar with the tragedy of people starving to death in various places. Overpopulation propagandists often use the TV image of the severally malnourished children in Somalia or Sudan, or any other war-torn-areas as a basis to argue that population growth in developing countries is causing poverty and famine.
The population controllers to justify the violation of human rights throughout the world have used the myth of overpopulation. Speaking of this, Michael Schwartz said: The myth of overpopulation is one of the most powerful in the world, and is the source of many of the attacks against our moral, cultural and family values. In reality however, it is nothing more than a rationalization for a world-wide war against the poor- a war which inhibits legitimate development and social justice. All these shouts about overpopulation is actually pointing to the fact that the world had a population crisis especially when we consider the fact that the issue of family planning had not been there right from when the world began.
Openness to life and the extension of love to others must be the dominant qualities for a successful and happy union. Yet maintaining the openness to life brings its own share of problems and tensions. We live today in a world in which the child is often looked upon as a burden, rather than a benefit. Each birth is analyzed in terms of the economic cost, without any measurement of the intangible benefits that accrue to parents, to the family itself and to society. The love of children that leads to parental generosity and sacrifice is often constrained by a propaganda effort, which has arbitrarily decided that the two-child family should be the norm for all couples.
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Moreover, from my origin of family planning, we are to see that the quest for family planning is actually coming from well-developed organizations and associations who are bent on checkmating the population of the world. Then, although that so many organs had agreed to do something about the population of the world, several of these organs to say had never reached on a precise way to follow. That is why we can then talk of things like artificial and natural ways of achieving family planning.
PURPOSE OF STUDY
Expectedly, many scholars have pondered and are still pondering on the overall effects of family planning on the entire human race. It is based on this fact that various camps had emerged as far as family planning is concerned. There is this group that feel that it is not appropriate to embrace family planning since they feel that the world is not overcrowded and therefore, not yet the time to be talking about family planning. Even, they argue that population growth is healthy and highly recommended as a way of balancing our eco-system. The other camp is that of those who support the idea of family planning but insisted that it should be achieved through the natural means. There are a lot of others who are against this idea as they maintain that artificial method of controlling birth is more appropriate and easier than any other method. Yet, despite this progress, a great number of married couples hardly know the basic techniques of family planning, and many more are lacking in confidence because they remain unaware of the dramatic advances that have taken place.
In addition, many of these women are always at a lost on which method of family planning to take because they are uninformed in any type of family planning. And also, it will go a long way in creating more awareness and enlightenment to those women who have been forced into adopting a particular type of family planning due to several governmental, environmental and organizational polices. This work will also serve the purpose of bringing a basic knowledge of family planning to those who are uninformed. It will also provide information and assurance that will give new confidence and hope to couples who wish to use the natural methods reliably and effectively.
SCOPE OF STUDY
My work is centered more on the two methods of family planning including the analysis of both of them. However, for the purpose of precision and of the requirements of this study, the research is limited to the views of J. F. Kippley.
METHODOLOGY OF RESEARCH
Owing to the nature of this work, which is historical and explorative, the method used is expository, descriptive, analytical and evaluative. The expository and descriptive method treated on the nature, origin and history of family planning. That of the analysis treats on the differences among the different methods of family planning as well as the merits and shortcomings. And then, the evaluative will help in accessing the different methods of family planning so as to find out the suitable and more risk free. As a philosophical inquiry, this study would try to analyze the ‘raison d’etre’ of the whole philosophy behind the issue of family planning. In general, the work is divided into four chapters. Chapter one offers the meaning of family planning as well as the historical view on family planning. The second chapter exposes and examines the different kinds of family planning that are applicable in our society today. In chapter three, I will discuss the analysis of Mr. J.F. Kippley’s notion of family planning. Then, the fourth chapter will critically evaluate the whole intellectual exposure.
Before we proceed into our main work, it will be right to see the notion of various people who have either said or done something in favour of one of the two methods of family planning. Thus, studies have shown that while some people are greatly in favour of the natural family planning, others are on the other hand in support of the artificial method of family planning. We are therefore to see those various individuals and organization that did something in favour of one of the methods of family planning. The first person to consider here is Pope Pius XI’s stand and condemnation of unnatural methods of family planning. For him, there should always be both a call to generosity in the service of life and the acceptance of the principle of spacing babies through natural family planning. Pope Paul VI in his ‘humanae vitae’, one of his encyclical letter in July 25th, 1968, lending weight to the course of natural family planning made this assertion:
If we look further to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised by those who, guided by prudent consideration and generosity, elect to accept many children. Those are also to be considered responsible who, for serious reasons and with due respect for moral precepts, decided not to have another child for either a definite or an indefinite amount of time. Another person to observe his opinion is His Eminence, The Grand Imam Sheikh of al-Azhar University in Cairo, who once provided conference goers with a booklet which was prepared by his international Islamic center for population studies, saying that Islam categorically condemns abortion…except…to…preserve the mother’s life.
On the other hand, below are the supporters of artificial family planning. The first person to be seen among this group is Margaret Sanger nee Higgins (1879-1966), an Irish American who was the one that introduced the phrase, birth control through her polices in the 1920s and 1930s. Margaret’s theory was very famous in her time especially as to have influenced Hitler so much. Sanger’s objective was to eliminate what she called the unfit members of the society by massive sterilization programs. Unfit members of the public for her include the poor, illiterates, the handicapped and the criminals, the black Americans and the Africans. In a letter, which she wrote to Clarence Gamble on 19th Oct, 1939, she expressed her plans to stop the growth of black population in the USA. Margaret also introduced many groups to channel her views. Among these groups were the Planned Parenthood Federation in America which she founded and was its first president. Sanger’s group saw the Africans as ‘sub man’ and the typical English labourer as ‘sub sub man’ who should be eliminated from the society. For her, 70% of the American people were reckoned as ‘morons’ (morons for her means those with low I.Q), and she recommended that the government should conduct I.Q tests compulsively so that those with low I.Q. will be immediately sterilized so as to curtail their growth. For her therefore:
The burden of supporting these unwanted types has to be borne by the healthy elements of the nation. Funds that should be used to raise the standards of our civilization are diverted to the maintenance of those who should never have been born.  Maria Stopes (1880-1956) on her part in supporting the course of the unnatural method of family planning founded the first birth control clinic in Great Britain in 1921. She also founded a society for constructive birth control and racial progress for which she was the first president. However, it is now widely recognized that these two women, Maria and Sanger were responsible for today’s sexual permissiveness, pornography, divorce, contraception and abortion through their actions.
Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834), an avowed elitist is another personality who was credited to have championed the birth of family planning. In his view, he believed that the poor should be eliminated for the sake of the society. Intrinsic to Malthus theory was a belief that the poor overburdened the world’s resources and that consequently, they should never really exist. Malthus view influenced many so that they began to see anyone who helps the poor as an enemy of the society since he was only helping to prolong and propagate evil. Having said something about some individual views on family planning, let us then see the notion of some organizations and groups that lended wait to the support of one of the methods of family planning.
The Christian churches were not left behind in the issue of supporting one of the two methods of family planning. Thus, the church insisted that the practice of natural family planning is the only authentic method of family planning. Hence: the church teaches that it is morally permissible for couples to calculate their fertility by observing the natural rhythms inherent in the generative faculties and to reserve marital intercourse for infertile times. Thus, couples are able to plan their families without violating the moral teachings Seeing the opinions of a non-profit organization, which was founded in 1971 by Mr. J. F. Kippley, The Couple to Couple League (CCLI), and the organization helps couples build healthy marriages through the practice of natural family planning. The league teaches engaged and married couples how to practice natural family planning. Also, it teaches the most up-to-date methods in natural family planning. CCLI also distributes information on the hazards of unnatural birth control, chastity, raising children, and related medical news.
The population controllers like the Planned Parenthood Association of America which was founded by Dr. & Mrs. Sanger allege that the world is critically overburdened with people right now, and that this crush of humanity is destroying the environment and creating inconveniences for those who are living. Therefore, they said that it is essential that we slow or halt population growth by making contraception and abortion available to all of the world’s women. Since about 1965, the population controllers have also been hinting that, if we do not put the brakes on our runaway population, the use of massive and widespread coercion will be necessary in order to save the planet. On the whole, they advocated for zero rate of natural population increase. 7
Some of these population controllers include; International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA). Some other organization and countries that have extensively founded the population controllers are the World Bank, USA, and Rockefellers Foundation in America, Singapore, Bangladesh, China, South Korea, India, Brazil, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Egypt, turkey, Colombia, Nigeria, and others. Among the countries that said they will not lend easier support to abortion were Germany, Poland, Switzerland, France, the Latin and Muslim countries, Kenya, Ghana6. E. Keane, Population and Development (USA: Human Life International, 1968), P. 56  Paul IV, Human Vitae, n. 17, 25 July 1968, Trans. By Janet E. Smith (Washington, D. C: Catholic University of American Press, 1991), P. 286  J. Kasun, The War Against Population (USA:Ignatius Press,1999), P. 128  M. Golden, All Kinds of Family Planning (Ibadan:African University Press, 1981), P. 15  Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, n.16, trans. by Janet E. Smith (USA: New Hope Pub, ca. 1992), P. 67
6 J. Kasun, Op. cit, P. 129