It’s good science now because there’s an app for it. And we know we can trust it because the FDA has approved it.
In a recent special report aired on 58 WDJT, ‘Women now considering digital birth control,’ Jessica Tighe introduced a pregnancy prevention app along with its apparent risks and benefits.
Like many couples, Berglund and Scherwitzl were using a form of hormonal birth control to delay child bearing. Knowing they wanted to have children within a year or two, Bergland decided go off her hormonal routine and allow her body to ‘get back to normal.’ The end result of her fulfilling journey to understand her own fertility was an app, helping other women track and understand days of fertility within their monthly cycles.
Apps like Natural Cycles are becoming increasingly popular because of demand. The truth is more and more women are becoming increasingly selective when choosing between forms of artificial/chemical birth control methods and methods that you may call more natural. Their reasons include the potential side effects associated with hormonal and mechanical methods of birth control, a desire to introduce fewer chemicals to their bodies, the potential abortifacient effects of hormonal birth control, and a host of other personal choices. You can learn more about the increased interest and the ‘greening’ of women’s reproductive health by visiting sites like “Natural Womanhood” or “Sweeting the Pill”.
Back to the App:
Although the app has received classification as a medical device in Europe, there remain many naysayers like Northwestern University’s Dr. Lauren Streicher, whose best descriptive terminology is, ‘This isn’t science; this is craziness.’ Other opponents to birth control methods based off a woman’s awareness and management of her own fertility (called Natural Family Planning or NFP) include former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards. In an interview with journalist, Tina Brown, Richards referred to such methods as, ‘insane.’ (If you don’t care to watch the entire interview, fast forward to around 3:30.)
Interesting enough, during Tighe’s special report, one of her interview subjects was Wisconsin Education Director for Planned Parenthood, Meghan Benson. Benson is quoted as stating, ‘The birth control app can be highly effective if it’s used correctly.’
WHOA there, Meghan! That sounds awfully close to an endorsement for the insane thought that a woman can actually manage her own reproductive choices without the influence of hormones, chemicals, or other unnatural products. The statement even suggests that this convenient app which is well, based on understanding a woman’s natural cycle, might actually be a valuable alternative to a woman’s reproductive choice. Maybe you can schedule a coffee date Cecile? Now that she’s retired, she might be able to fit you into her schedule.
Natural Cycles reports that with ‘perfect use’ this app can be 98% effective but ‘typical use’ drops the app’s effective rate to 93%. Bad news if you are one of the 7 not planning a pregnancy at this time in your life. Even at 93%, the app would still rank in the top 40% for effectiveness in family planning methods according to the CDC.
Benson’s statement regarding correct/perfect use and ‘typical use’ is that, ‘doing something every day can be challenging,’ Yes, self-discipline can be challenging. Daily exercise, brushing your teeth, taking vitamins, feeding your kids, going to work, and managing personal finances can all be included in the ‘challenging adult-type tasks’ category. Is the belief that women are smart, capable, disciplined and self-controlled too much of a reach? NO! Absolutely not!
If this app for everyone? NO. But there is a body of work backed by good science that allows a woman the choice of how she desires to control her fertility without the use of unnatural influences.
It comes back to bad information and we sometimes we have to ask the ugly question, ‘why is the information inaccurate?’ There may be one answer – motivation. For both Richards and Streicher, is it too bold to ask ‘can we follow the money?’