"Natural Family Planning: Our Opportunity to Bring Forth a Culture of Life"

Kaitlin VanderKolk '14

Biology Major and CST Minor

Advisor: Professor Todd Whitmore

Kaitlin Vanderkolk

"For my CST capstone, I chose to do a final project that would synthesize my passions for science and public health as well as theology. I wrote a paper that examined the theological and scientific basis and justifications for natural family planning, emphasizing the benefits for relationships, families, and especially women’s health. Catholic Social Teaching asks us to think of the whole person and to rejoice in the fullness of human dignity. Natural family planning answers this call by respecting biology and fertility, making it a reality to be lived with rather than a problem to be solved. Natural family planning makes it possible to effectively avoid or achieve pregnancy with no side effects, with percentages comparable or even better than artificial contraception or artificial reproductive technologies, simultaneously diagnose and treat potential gynecological health issues, and synthesize family planning and women’s health in a framework morally and ethically acceptable to the Catholic Church. In the conclusion of my paper, I discuss ways in which the many benefits of natural family planning and its acceptability within the teaching of the Catholic Church entails an obligation on the part of Catholic institutions such as Notre Dame to provide these services to students and faculty."