Document Type

Conference Proceeding



Publication Date



University Faculty for Life

Source Publication

Life and Learning XXX: Proceedings of the Thirtieth Conference of University Faculty for Life 2020


This paper considers the implications of Pope Saint John Paul II’s encyclical Evangelium vitae (The Gospel of Life) for the use, teaching, and research of natural family planning (NFP). In this encyclical the pope analyzed the connections between use of contraception and abortion, encouraged the development of NFP centers, advised that NFP be provided to all married couples, urged health care professionals to be involved in teaching NFP, and recommended that universities be involved with research in NFP, especially to explicate NFP’s effectiveness. This paper provides evidence for the association of contraception with abortion, for the state of NFP among married couples in the United States, and gives examples of NFP centers that focus on women’s health. This paper also presents evidence for the effectiveness of NFP in helping couples to avoid and achieve pregnancy. In light of the pope’s call for universities to be involved with building a culture of life, this paper explains the Marquette University Institute for NFP as doing so through educating health care professionals in how to teach the Marquette Model system of NFP, by conducting NFP research, and by offering innovative NFP services. The paper ends echoing John Paul II’s call for women to be leaders in developing a culture of life by discussing ways health care professional women have promoted NFP through social media, the internet, innovative technology, and women’s health services.


Published version. Published as part of the proceedings of the conference, Life and Learning XXX: Proceedings of the Thirtieth Conference of University Faculty for Life, (2020): 245-264. Publisher link. © 2020 University Faculty for Life. Used with permission.

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