Teaching Teens Fertility Awareness

There was an interesting article in the Washington Post the other day on whether or not teen aged girls should be taught about their fertility. It seems like both sides are afraid to teach Fertility Awareness (also known as Natural Family Planning or NFP). Those in favor of “comprehensive sex ed” say it’s too complicated and teens won’t follow through. Teens would rely on only part of the method and not be fully “protected.” (Funny – we say the same thing when it comes to teens and birth control – teens won’t follow through). The abstinence-only folks think that it will cause teens to become sexually active since they will now know when to avoid sex to avoid pregnancy. But as one of the commentator noted on Fructus Ventris where I first saw the article, “Why does everything have to be about sex?” I agree. It’s a basic fact of biology that I think young women should be taught. How can you teach young women about menstruation and leave her fertility out of the picture? A girl’s cycle doesn’t make any sense without the fertile phase. Sure, a young woman could use this information to avoid pregnancy, but I would guess she’s most likely sexually active anyway. Ideally it would be best to teach Fertility Awareness in the context of respect for sex, but I don’t think that’s absolutely necessary. Again, it’s basic biology. Perhaps learning about how the reproductive system works would bring about a better understanding of the nature of sex to some degree. I don’t think we can be afraid to teach something good because it could possibly be abused.

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