Paul Ryan’s Missing Children and Mitt Romney’s Forbidden Grandchildren


Paul Ryan and his wife, Janna, have three very cute young children. Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, are the parents of five grown sons and the proud grandparents of eighteen.  Normally, beyond supplying the requisite photo ops to assure voters that the presidential ticket is composed of “good family men” (or women), the actual number of individuals in such candidates’ family does not gather much attention. Normally, moreover, I would not feel comfortable writing about the private reproductive choices of candidates, and especially those of their wives and children. But of course, these are hardly normal times in American politics, given the centrality of the radical agenda on reproduction in the contemporary Republican Party—and Romney and Ryan’s enthusiastic endorsement of this agenda, which if passed, would bring misery to millions of Americans.

Both Paul Ryan’s relatively small family and Mitt Romney’s quite large one reveal the reproductive minefields for Republican candidates who presumably are expected to show obedience, in their personal lives, to the party’s extremist platform. The Ryans’ reproductive choices, in particular, may also be an example of the perennial hypocrisy of politicians who do not live by the rules they seek to establish for others.

Let’s consider, first, the number of children that Paul Ryan has. He and his wife married in 2000. Let us assume they have not made use of birth control in their married life (which would make Janna Ryan among the 2 percent of Catholic women who have not used contraception.) This should be a fair assumption to make, given that Ryan is a co-sponsor of a federal “Sanctity of Human Life Act,” which among other things, would prohibit many forms of birth control, and he has been a firm opponent of family planning programs.

But the fact that only three children have emerged in 12 years of marriage is puzzling. Figures from the respected Contraceptive Technology website show that 85 percent of women in couples where no contraceptive method is used for a year will experience an unintended pregnancy. If the Ryans have been using so-called “natural family planning”, also known as “fertility awareness-based methods,” then their chances of an unintended pregnancy in a given year would have been 25 percent. Had Paul Ryan used a condom, his wife’s chance of an unintended pregnancy in a year would be 15 percent. In short, it is hard to understand how this marriage of 12 years has produced only 3 children, unless this couple have used more reliable methods of birth control. (It is, of course, possible that the Ryans have experienced infertility issues, in which case they have my sincere sympathy).

As for Mitt Romney, a decidedly awkward aspect for him with respect to his large number of grandchildren is that, as the New York Times reported, at least three of them were born to his son, Tagg, through the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and surrogacy. Furthermore, according to Mother Jones, “Two of Tagg’s brothers reportedly have struggled with infertility issues and resorted to IVF as well.” But Romney is well-remembered, in pro-choice and religious right circles alike, for his answer of “absolutely” when  Mike Huckabee, a favorite of the religious right, asked if he would support a constitutional amendment declaring that life begins at conception—an amendment which, if passed, would not only outlaw abortion and many forms of contraception, but  would also criminalize IVF, the very procedure by which some of his grandchildren came into being.

The Ryans’ probable use of birth control and the Romney family’s use of IVF are only the latest examples of a long string of Republican candidates being caught in an understandable inability to live up to the absolutist demands of their party. Remember, in 1988, vice-presidential candidate Dan Quayle’s “gaffe” (which many considered his most human moment of the campaign) when he admitted to a reporter that “I’d support my daughter” if she chose to have an abortion? Or George H.W. Bush, in 1980, hurriedly agreeing to officially disown his support for abortion rights, so Ronald Reagan would find him an acceptable running mate?

The difference between these earlier incidents and now is that then the reproductive minefields were specifically about abortion. Now, not only has the ante been raised with respect to abortion—high profile Republican candidates are currently expected to disavow the traditional exceptions for rape and incest—but support for contraception and assisted reproduction can prove toxic to candidates as well. (Tagg Romney’s use of IVF did not go unnoticed in anti-choice circles). It remains to be seen how these extreme positions, let alone the Republican candidates’ difficulties in living up to them, will be a factor in November’s election.

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  • moviguy7

    It is easy for Romney and Ryan to hold these position because it will not affect them.  They vast resources to get around any law they put up.  The only people relly affected will be the poor and the lower middle classes.

  • give-em-hell-mary

    Also, pedophile priests are smart enough not to prey on the children of their wealthy patrons, so they and their corrupt patrons pick on the neglected surplus children of the poor and sinking middle class.  The fascist GOP and RCC have teamed up to punish “sinful, selfish” middle classers who achieved their very economic, reproductive health and domestic stability through contraception.  Spoiled American priests are especially livid that middle class parents are filing civil and criminal charges against molesting priests.  Desperately poor and illiterate parents rarely do that.   These clergy and corporate elitists don’t want us serfs to know that contraception and abortions are OK for their own convenience and “chaste” reputations, but not for our own right to life and health.

     

    We serfs must hound mother-killer Ryan on his own bedroom disobedience.  I’m betting he or his wife got “snipped” for “health reasons”.  If he can criminalize our health for his child-raping priests, he deserves tarring and feathering.

  • coralsea

    Like you, Carole, I don’t normally like to extend discussion of hypocrisy in political figures to family members — particularly when they involve children.  But I imagine if questions were asked to “pin down” just why, for example, Tagg Romney and other Romney sons used IVF rather than “trust that God has a plan,” the answer they would give is that “it was a personal decision.”

     

    Precisely.  Sex and reproduction — or choosing not to reproduce — should indeed be a personal choice.  Unfortunately, I since folks on the Right and Religious Right tend to be masters at turning a blind eye at hypocrisy, I doubt that rubbing this in their face will change their minds. Also, Mitt Romney appears to feel that he is above the rules of others, and seriously disinterested in and dismissive toward the lives and problems of others, so this is doubly the case with him.  However, it may cause more moderate individuals to think twice about a party that seeks to make bold edicts — but doesn’t believe that such edicts really apply to them.

     

    Thanks for this piece.

  • lisac

    Normally, moreover, I would not feel comfortable writing about the private reproductive choices of candidates, and especially those of their wives and children…[but] the Ryans’ reproductive choices, in particular, may also be an example of the perennial hypocrisy of politicians who do not live by the rules they seek to establish for others.

     

    I don’t want to be rude, but there’s not much difference between an anti-choicer saying ‘A woman’s right to privacy ends when sperm meets egg’ and a pro-choicer saying ‘A woman’s right to privacy ends when spouse meets bad political agenda.’  It’s unseemly either way.  But if sheer decency does not incline you to leave Janna Ryan’s uterus out of a debate about her husband’s candidacy, you should at very least bear in mind that Paul Ryan lives a thousand miles away from his wife’s uterus for most of the year, and so it is problematic to compare them to an ‘average’ couple using ‘natural family planning.’  However…

     

    If the Ryans have been using so-called “natural family planning”, also known as “fertility awareness-based methods,” then their chances of an unintended pregnancy in a given year would have been 25 percent.

     

    Well, if there is a 25% chance that a couple might conceive in a given year, another way of putting it would be that there is a 100% chance that the couple would conceive once in four years.  The Ryans have had three children in twelve years, or an average of one child every four years.  How is that different from what the statistics would predict?  (This is a sincere question, not a rhetorical one.  I know nothing about statistics.)

     

    Again, I don’t want to be rude.  I just don’t want to see a major pro-choice site putting forth arguments that are vulnerable to challenge by the antichoice nutjobs, and it seems to me that this post is on somewhat shaky ground.

  • jodi-jacobson

    Lisa,

    I want to respectfully push back on this a bit.  Carole’s illustration of how fertility stats work isn’t so much focused on the Ryan’s per se, as much as that they clearly, for whatever reason, have “chosen” a family size comfortable to them, no matter through what means. Moreover, they are millionaires, and therefore don’t face the constraints of the vast majority of women using contraception to plan, limit, or avoid childbearing altogether. It is Paul’s stance to gut Planned Parenthood, eliminate Title X, end access to abortion and, apart from any government-funded program, through legislation making fertilized eggs “people” to outlaw the most effective forms of birth control altogether.  Likewise, Romney supports both personhood (outlaws IVF) and, now suddenly, eliminating access to abortion as a political posture, 180 degrees from where he used to be.  They both support forced ultrasound, forcing medical doctors to lie to women, and many other restrictions that, in effect, lead to forced pregnancy.

    I take playing with women’s very lives no less seriously than I take cheating on taxes, calling low-income mothers struggling to get by “welfare queens,” while you take $70,000 tax deductions for your showhorse, lying about climate change sceince to score political points, and so on. Its a public policy issue of fundamental import for women. These men are the ones making private reproductive choices into uber-battles. My feeling is that that leaves their own choices up for scrutiny and for speculation, because if you are rich, and you can afford it, the policies you are passing will only adversely affect (and seriously so) others.

    I don’t think we treat this any differently than some politician who gets up and says, “I am going to pass a law that requires everyone to do (or not to do) X or Y” while he/she is already doing/not doing X or Y in contradiction to what he/she is demanding of everyone else.

     

    Best, Jodi

  • bambic

    You offer your condolences to the Ryan’s if they’ve had or are having fertility issues? Since when are three children not enough? One too many by some standards.

  • prochoiceferret

    Since when are three children not enough?

     

    Enough to contravene Catholic teaching against the use of non-rhythm-method contraceptives? Not since about the 60’s, according to the bishops….

  • cmarie

    I understand I’m generally considered a radical right winger here but I honestly find it very hard to believe that condoms fail 15% of the time.  After my third (and last) child was born, I was just going to go back to the pill but couldn’t because of my blood pressure, so we’ve used condoms instead ever since.  My son’s almost eight now and God bless them, condoms have always worked  like a charm for me and that’s from someone who ALWAYS got pregnant after two months unprotected.  Maybe they do fail one or two percent of the time…. but fifteen percent of the time?  I think you’d have to be using them strictly in your imagination for them to fail at that rate.  When you send out the message that birth control doesn’t work there are going to be young people who don’t bother because they figure it won’t make any difference. So, if you’re worried about condoms being unreliable, by all means talk about it but don’t just make shit up.  If young people think you’re doing that, they might stop listening altogether.

  • prochoiceferret

    I honestly find it very hard to believe that condoms fail 15% of the time.

     

    There’s a difference between the “using a condom correctly” failure rate, and the “don’t have a very good idea how condoms work and haven’t taken a sex-ed class because the radical right-wingers think it’ll turn folks into slut-tastic sex-devils, but hey, how hard can it really be? Whoa, uh… is it supposed to break open like that?” failure rate.

  • carole-joffe

    cmarie–if you click on the link on my blog for the 15% failure rate of condoms, you will see the source of that figure, and you will see that I did not “make shit up”! overall, nearly 50% of all pregnancies occurring in the U.S. are unintended, though the number has been improving somewhat lately. this suggests a lot of contraceptive failures, as well, of course, of non-contraceptive use. I am glad that you and your partner have had such success with condom use. Others are not so fortunate.

  • jcadams

    It is easy for Romney and Ryan to hold these positions because they have full coverage medical plans that are just not available to the average American. IVF is extremely expensive. So lesser people in the middle class and poor people really just have no practical access to IVF. And from Romney-Ryans’s perspective it’s probably just too bad that they are poor and can’t afford better medical care. Maybe they just don’t deserve it. 

  • prochoiceferret

    Maybe they do fail one or two percent of the time…. but fifteen percent of the time?

     

    Here’s an article you may find interesting:

    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/08/13/here%E2%80%99s-secret-size-really-does-matter

  • carolrhill814

    You want to speak about all of these things that is NONE of our business but you don’t want to speak about Obama and the fact is he is NOT American and never was he was burn in Kenya and someone bought his birth certificate in Hawaii so it is a fraud.

     

    Ryan has plenty children for he and his wife as Romney he does have four boys and several grand children  but we don’t know anything about Obama but let us NOT talk about that.

     

    Did anybody notice Obama  ONLY has two girls which for them that is plenty for them a matter a fact he said his wife only wanted two children. How did they prevent having more IT IS NONE of our business but do you berate him for that? “NO”.

     

    To me to dare attack Ryan’s and Romney’s other family members that is as low as as any web-site can go and that is a fact.

     

    To me it sounds like someone is desperate to get as much as anyone can get about Ryan and Romney that is NONE of anyone’s business and it makes me want to vomit.

  • jennifer-starr

    You want to speak about all of these things that is NONE of our business but you don’t want to speak about Obama and the fact is he is NOT American and never was he was burn in Kenya and someone bought his birth certificate in Hawaii so it is a fraud.

     Try this mess over at ‘The Birther Report’ or ‘Doctor’ Orly’s House of Malware, Carol–birther crap about where you imagine that Obama was ‘burn’ (?) doesn’t fly here and there’s nothing factual about it. It just serves to prove how divorced from reality you really are. 

  • prochoiceferret

    You want to speak about all of these things that is NONE of our business but you don’t want to speak about Obama and the fact is he is NOT American and never was he was burn in Kenya and someone bought his birth certificate in Hawaii so it is a fraud.

     

    And 9/11 was an inside job. It was all part of the master plan to cover up what happened at Roswell!

     

    Ryan has plenty children for he and his wife as Romney he does have four boys and several grand children  but we don’t know anything about Obama but let us NOT talk about that.

     

    Yes, because Obama isn’t advocating against the use of contraception and IVF. Which is kind of the point here.

     

    Did anybody notice Obama  ONLY has two girls which for them that is plenty for them a matter a fact he said his wife only wanted two children. How did they prevent having more IT IS NONE of our business but do you berate him for that? “NO”.

     

    No, because Obama isn’t advocating against the use of contraception and IVF. Which is kind of the point here.

     

    To me to dare attack Ryan’s and Romney’s other family members that is as low as as any web-site can go and that is a fact.

     
    Where is anyone attacking Ryan’s and Romney’s family members? This is about Ryan and Romney and their hypocrisy.
     

    To me it sounds like someone is desperate to get as much as anyone can get about Ryan and Romney that is NONE of anyone’s business and it makes me want to vomit.

     
    Funny, that’s what we think about their butting their noses into womens’ health issues. If merely reading a Web page is enough to give you nausea, however, you may want to see your doctor. It could be something serious.
  • colleen

    Yes, because Obama isn’t advocating against the use of contraception and IVF. Which is kind of the point here.

    They are impervious to reason. Right wingers are ‘faith based’ and fueled by racism.

  • give-em-hell-mary

    What makes me vomit is your refusal to hold mother-killers Ryan and Romney accountable for their personal sexual hypocrisy while they criminalize the same safe sex they practice themselves for the rest of us.  Obama practices what he preaches, in case you’re too brainwashed to notice.

  • lily1984

    This article has the effectiveness of the fertility awareness method entirely WRONG. The sympto-thermal method of avoiding pregnancy has only a 2% failure rate according to Planned Parenthood (http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control/symptothermal-method-22142.htm) and, according to this article (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070221065200.htm), only 0.4% for those who abstain during fertile times and 0.6% for those who use barriers during fertile times.

     

    Get your facts straight before you draw the conclusion that someone is being hypocrytical! The facts reveal that it is entirely possible for the Ryans to have avoided pregnancy at times without the use of hormonal contraceptives.

     

  • lisac

    Jodi,

     

    You absolutely don’t have to convince me that a Romney/Ryan presidency would be bad for most men and even worse for women and children, and we can agree to disagree on the appropriateness of discussing the candidates’ families.  But I do want to press the simple statistics of the matter, for reasons that I’ll return to in a moment, so please bear with me while I do the math again. 

     

    Carole’s illustration of how fertility stats work isn’t so much focused on the Ryan’s per se, as much as that they clearly, for whatever reason, have “chosen” a family size comfortable to them, no matter through what means.

     

    Dr. Joffe’s column seems (to me) to be very much about the means by which the Ryans may have chosen their family size, because her conclusion that the Ryans have probably used birth control is the whole basis of her suggestion that Paul Ryan wants his party to impose rules that he probably doesn’t live by.  And since not even the most extreme of his party have suggested that it is illicit for married couples to use natural family planning (we’ll do NFP for short), then to argue hypocrisy on Ryan’s part, we need to make a compelling case that his family size indicates that he has used more than NFP.  It seems to me that the statistics do not support this conclusion, for three reasons.

     

    1).  First off, even I know that one can’t apply general statistics to specific individuals.  Saying that “Since Paul Ryan doesn’t have the number of children that the average NFP couple has, he probably used birth control” is like saying, “Since one in three African American men are imprisoned during their lifetimes and none of six black men I know have gone to prison, two are probably criminals who never got caught.”  It just doesn’t work like that.

    2).  I would repeat my question about whether an average 25% annual pregnancy rate for NFP couples would predict an average of one child every four years.  If it does, then we have no indication that the Ryans are not practicing what they preach.  Even if my math is wrong, when you bear in mind that a). they had three extendend periods when they could not conceive because Mrs. Ryan was already pregnant plus subsequent lactational amenhorrea, and b) they perforce practice abstinence except on weekends and during Congressional recesses, it wouldn’t surprise me if they were not using any kind of birth control at all, even NFP.

    3).  Dr Joffe says that the figures from Contraceptive Technology say that with NFP, the Ryans’ “chances of an unintended pregnancy in a given year would have been 25 percent.”  But that’s not actually what Contraceptive Technology says: rather, it says that a 25% pregnancy rate is found in the typical woman’s first year of NFP use, not in any given year, and odds go down to a 3-5% pregnancy rate for perfect use (also in the first year).  If an anti-choice site had cherry-picked numbers like that to allege hypocrisy on the part of a pro-choice politician, I would be obnoxiously scathing in my comments.

     

    As we all know, anti-choice bloggers do read this site and sometimes pick up stories from it.  All I mean to say is that since I would like to see this site continue its tradition of showing solid intellectual integrity in the face of  pro-life tendentiousness and junk science, I would respectfully request that Dr. Joffe double-check the math and amend the post if necessary.

  • give-em-hell-mary

    Actually, extremist Catholics do oppose even NFP because of its potential for couples to exploit the “contraceptive mentality”.  I’ve seen NFP condemned on many Catholic websites for that reason.

  • give-em-hell-mary

    No, you get your facts straight! — fevers and chronic inflamation throw women’s temperatures off all the time.  Moreover, a recent Canadian study proved women ovulate two and three times per month, leaving them no infertile cycle.  Also, many years ago an Abington Hospital nursing student/graduate of Archbisop Wood High School in Warminster, PA angrily informed my sister and me that NFP was a complete fraud since a covered-up study revealed that some sperm live inside women several days longer (10-15 days!) than previously believed.  NFP is pushed by the RCC precisely because it fails and forces years of marriage-ruining abstinence on couples.  Your bogus studies fraudulently exclude couples who report NFP failures.  Such couples are dismissed as “disobedient liars” by your NFP bully charlatans who never let facts get in the way of their pedophile priest cult.

  • lily1984

    Please provide a link to that Canadian study. You are clearly misunderstanding it because a woman cannot ovulate more than once per cycle. During the aproximately 24 hours during which ovulation takes place, more than one egg can be released (how fraternal twins come about), but there cannot be any other ovulation during that cycle. If you think so, then you don’t understand how a woman’s body works.

    And again, I’d like a link to that study about sperm. Remember that the amount of time sperm can survive depends on where a woman is in her cycle because her cervical fluid is what sustains the sperm. It doesn’t surprise me that a nursing student told you NFP was unreliable since many health professionals do not understand how it works.

    Fevers and chronic inflamation do not throw women’s temperatures off all the time. The rules of the sympto-thermal method of NFP/fertility awareness are designed to take into account any unexpected temperature changes. If you haven’t turned off your reproductive system with artificial hormones, you can give charting a try and see for yourself the amazing way your body works. Your cervical fluid will indicate the approach of ovulation, and a fluid dry-up accompanied by a temperature rise will indicate that ovulation has occurred. Charting your cycles is really a fantastic way to get to know your body.

    NFP/fertility awareness is not just something pushed by the Catholic Church. You don’t have to be part of the religious right to feel that taking hormones to turn off your reproductive system might not be a very good idea. Many women want a natural alternative. I recommend Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler (http://www.amazon.com/Taking-Charge-Fertility-Anniversary-Edition/dp/0060881909) to anyone who is interested in an extremely effective way to avoid pregnancy naturally. This is an entirely SECULAR book.

     

  • bj-survivor

    Here are two links, one to the study itself (which you may not be able to access without paying a fee) and one to a news report about the study. Apparently, about 10% of women ovulate twice a cycle.

    Real-world use of periodic abstinence methods show a failure rate of 25%. Better than using no method at all, but unacceptably high for most women. What turns me off about NFP/FAM as preached, is that they throw out anyone who didn’t use it perfectly or what they deem as imperfectly, which is something not done in calculating statistics for other contraceptive methods, and which artificially inflates the stated efficacy of it. In my discussions with gynecological NPs and MDs, they will often note either “no method” or “Family Addition Method” when told by patients that they utilize FAM/NFP. In other words, it’s that ineffective in the real world.

    *This was supposed to be reply to Lily1984; don’t know why it did not post beneath hers.

  • maiac

    I think you’ve made some very good points about the misuse of statistics here. But I also think that if we re-examine the numbers, we probably still would be able to conclude that these folks probably used reproductive measures that they want to deny others. 

    However, I’d go a step farther than you and say this is STILL a bad approach to this column. I don’t think the “hypocrisy” tactic is likely to be effective for several reasons – 1) the people who’s minds you’re trying to change won’t buy the premise and 2) it doesn’t really get at the heart of the problem of their hypocrisy – their privilege.

    THAT’S where I would focus this article – examining how these folks wouldn’t have to live by their own rules even if they wanted to. Because more than anything, that’s the problem. And it leads us to a conversation about the larger social injustices that are underlying attacks on reproductive justice in many ways (from the destruction of the social safety nets to the attacks on abortion & BC).

     

    So, I join you in requesting a re-write, though for totally different reasons!
    :) 

  • maiac

    You are struggling with the lack of effective sex education people in the US get, and thus how incorrectly & inconsistently they actually use condoms.

    When used correctly and consistently (meaning stored properly, package checked for expiration and holes, sized properly for the penis, put on correctly with a little space at the tip, sufficient lubricant, and used every time one has intercouse), the condom failure rate for pregnancy is only 2-3%.

    However, most people have not been well taught about condoms, and do not use them consistetnly and correctly. Typical use (that is, incorrect and inconsistent use) failure rates for pregnancy are actually a bit higher than the 15% quotes here – it’s more like 18% in the literature I’ve seen.

  • coralsea

    I am one of those lucky, lucky (sorry, sarcasm) women who has ALWAYS had fluctuating body temperatures due to inflammatory illness (juvenile arthritis, which has been joined by rhematoid arthritis).  I have had a few stretches in my life when I have felt normal and not had to deal with debilitating temperature spikes, but they have been the exceptions.  Rather a lot of people (especially women) suffer from inflammatory conditions, although they can be sufficiently “mild” that they can be ignored for a while (I did this form several years until I almost died — other people I’ve met at the Rheumatologists office say the same thing, although many of them managed to tough it out for 20 years or so).  It is SO not fun running a temperature of 102 degrees fahrenheit a couple of times a week — especially when you have to muddle through.  Would you want to have the equivalent of a raging case of the flu a couple of days a week?

     

    I am aware that I am an extreme case, but I have a niece who also has arthritis and occasionally runs fevers, although not nearly as often.  A lot of young women do — and a lot of them, and the rest of the general public are unaware of this chronic condition because most of us muddle through in our “childbearing” years.

     

    So I would be very leery of any method that relies on monitoring your temperature unless you are absolutely sure you aren’t harboring some sub-clinical level of auto-immune/inflamatory disease.  People who say otherwise are ignorant and should be ignored.

     

  • coralsea

    I am one of those lucky, lucky (sorry, sarcasm) women who has ALWAYS had fluctuating body temperatures due to inflammatory illness (juvenile arthritis, which has been joined by rhematoid arthritis).  I have had a few stretches in my life when I have felt normal and not had to deal with debilitating temperature spikes, but they have been the exceptions.  Rather a lot of people (especially women) suffer from inflammatory conditions, although they can be sufficiently “mild” that they can be ignored for a while (I did this form several years until I almost died — other people I’ve met at the Rheumatologists office say the same thing, although many of them managed to tough it out for 20 years or so).  It is SO not fun running a temperature of 102 degrees fahrenheit a couple of times a week — especially when you have to muddle through.  Would you want to have the equivalent of a raging case of the flu a couple of days a week?

     

    I am aware that I am an extreme case, but I have a niece who also has arthritis and occasionally runs fevers, although not nearly as often.  A lot of young women do — and a lot of them, and the rest of the general public are unaware of this chronic condition because most of us muddle through in our “childbearing” years.

     

    So I would be very leery of any method that relies on monitoring your temperature unless you are absolutely sure you aren’t harboring some sub-clinical level of auto-immune/inflamatory disease.  People who say otherwise are ignorant and should be ignored.

     

  • lily1984

    Yes, that study and article are talking about exactly what I said–a woman can release  more than one egg per cycle. But you seem to be confused about the timeframe in which that happens. Perhaps the American Pregnancy Association (http://www.americanpregnancy.org/gettingpregnant/ovulationfaq.htm) can explain it better than I can:

    Can a woman ovulate more than once during each cycle?

    A woman cannot ovulate more than once during each cycle, therefore she cannot get pregnant more than once during a cycle. Multiple ovulation can occur and is when two or more eggs are released in a single cycle. Both eggs are released during one 24 hour period and are responsible for the birth of fraternal twins. It is believed that this may occur in as many as 5-10% of all cycles but does not result in that many twins due to a type of miscarriage referred to as the “vanishing twin phenomenon.”

    You won’t release another egg days after releasing the first one. It will all happen during 24 hours. The rules of NFP take all this into account.

    As I said before, many medical professionals do not understand how NFP works, and so I am not surprised that they have given you misinformation.

     

     

  • lily1984

    I’m sorry about your illness. Something like that would certainly affect a woman’s fertility chart, but it wouldn’t compromise the effectiveness of NFP. When using NFP, a woman identifies a temperature pattern in conjuntion with a cervical fluid pattern and cervical position pattern. The rules teach women how to interpret outlying temperatures.

    In fact, keeping a chart of her waking temeratures might actually help a woman discover a condition like you described. If she has frequent low-grade fevers due to an inflammatory condition, then she probably wouldn’t feel ill (as you do with a fever of 102!), so she might only discover it if she decided to chart her basal body temperatures. Some women with low progesterone only discover the condition when they notice that their waking temperatures are unusually low and tend to dip below an expected level during the luteal phase.

  • coralsea

    Lily — I’m glad you are so confident in your method, but I believe that you have oversimplified complex medical conditions with nothing other than your own wishful thinking to back you up.  Even leading researchers in the area of auto-immune and inflammatory diseases are still learning about the constellation of effects these illness can have on people — particularly at the subclinical level at which general practice clinicians initially see patients.  The fact that you don’t think that frequent low-grade fevers due to an inflammatory condition probably wouldn’t make you feel ill tells me all I need to know about your lack of understanding of these types of conditions.   I’m glad that NFP works for you, and women who want to try it should certainly do so (if they don’t mind dealing with a pregnancy if it fails), but you vastly underestimate the complexity of medical conditions (and their symptoms) that can affect a lot of other women.

  • give-em-hell-mary

    The point of your “sinless” NFP method is to keep you busy masturbating with your man-made thermometers and charts while your husband gets real sex elsewhere.  What an insulting waste of marriage!

  • give-em-hell-mary

    Please don’t push medical disinfo from pedophile priests who count on your brainwashing:

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=twins+conceived+days+apart&btnG=Google+Search&sei=Y68vUIGZEanu0gHIuoDYAw&gbv=2

     

    Superfetation often occurs days, even weeks, not hours, apart, which accounts for fraternal twins having different due dates weeks apart:

    http://www3.telus.net/tyee/multiples/1formed.html

    http://www.babymed.com/twins/superfetation-and-superfecundation-twins-conceived-weeks-apart-one-or-two-fathers

     

    I don’t know if I believe this but the following claims women have lunar fertility cycles that cause secondary ovulation after their biological ovulation:

    http://www.menstruation.com.au/periodpages/twofertile.html

     

    Check out this bombshell on stress triggering out-of-cycle ovulation:

    http://www.rbej.com/content/8/1/53/

    “…acute stress may induce ovulation in women displaying appropriate serum levels of estradiol and one or more follicles large enough to respond to a non-midcycle LH surge.

    Whereas the HPA axis exhibits positive responses in practically all phases of the ovarian cycle, acute-stress-induced release of LH is found under relatively high plasma levels of estradiol. However, there are studies suggesting that several types of acute stress may exert different effects on pituitary LH release and the steroid environment may modulate in a different way (inhibiting or stimulating) the pattern of response of the HPG axis elicited by acute stressors.

    Conclusion

    Women may be induced to ovulate at any point of the menstrual cycle or even during periods of amenorrhea associated with pregnancy and lactation if exposed to an appropriate acute stressor under a right estradiol environment….”

    This is why rape victims suffer higher rates of pregnancy in spite of their “infertile” phase.

    “All this epidemiological evidence, together with the fact that copulation can trigger or hasten (facilitate) ovulation in otherwise spontaneous ovulating species such as the rat (for reviews, see Gibson et al. [6], Milligan [7], Bakker and Baum [8] and Nagy et al. [9]), led Zarrow et al. [10] and Jöchle [11,12] to propose that women may be facultative coitus-induced ovulators.

    “This attractive and stimulating hypothesis is supported by the fact that 68% of women display 2 follicular waves and the remaining 32% exhibit 3 waves of ovarian follicular development during an interovulatory interval [13]. It is likely that women exhibit waves of follicular development during pregnancy and lactation as it occurs in cattle, sheep, goats and mares [14] (for review, see Evans [15])….”

    Lily, perhaps you will be “blessed” with a “surprise” pregnancy during your “infertile” cycle when you catch your husband cheating! :)

     

  • lily1984

    There are fewer than ten known cases of superfetation (http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=105927). Aside from an extremely rare phenomenon, multiple ovulation occurs within a 24-hour timeframe.

    Thanks for the very interesting article from Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology. Notice, however, the article discusses hormonal patterns and responses to stressors and speculates about what may be possible (hence the word “may” rather than “does” in the title) based on what is known about hormones. It does not discuss observations of such a thing actually happening. And it certainly does not indicate that such a thing happens more than rarely.

    I’d like to draw your attention to this line from the article: “Furthermore, ovulations and conceptions may arise during periods of amenorrhea associated with oral contraceptive use, drug addiction, pregnancy (superfetation; for review, see Pape et al. [3]) and lactation.” (The bolding is mine.)

    Every method, including hormonal birth control, has a failure rate. So your objections regarding very rare events or possibilities do not indicate that the symto-thermal method of NFP/fertility awareness is anything other than a perfectly valid method of avoiding pregnancy. Yes, it has a failure rate. But that failure rate is 2% or less (http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control/symptothermal-method-22142.htm).

    Your rage at pedophile priests seems to have impaired your ability to assess methods of contraception rationally. I am not Catholic. I want to reiterate that many non-Catholics use fertility awareness because they want a natural way to avoid pregnancy and prefer not to take hormone pills or have a device inserted into their uterus. Many people also choose to use barriers during their fertile phase instead of abstaining. (Of course, this reduces the effectiveness of the method to the effectiveness of the barrier.) There was a poster earlier in the comments who said that she cannot take birth control pills because she has high blood pressure, and so she and her husband use condoms. Using fertility awareness would allow her to enjoy sex barrier-free for at least two thirds of her cycle.

  • lily1984

    I certainly don’t mean to simplify an illness that you and many other women suffer from, and I don’t pretend to know anything about it beyond what you told me.

    There are also mucus-only methods of NFP that have a failure rate of only 3 or 4%. Perhaps these would be options for women with conditions like yours.

  • give-em-hell-mary

    “I have just ovulated twice this month, firstly on the 15th Nov and secondly on the 25th Nov. I am now pregnant from the second ovulation.”

    The above is just one of 25 comments by many other women who also ovulate more than once per month from this New Scientist article already linked to by someone else here:

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn3927-women-can-ovulate-more-than-once-a-month.html

    I know many women who became pregnant using NFP during their alleged infertile cycle and they were never part of any extra ovulation studies.  Their unwanted pregnancies were, however, excluded from any NFP studies!  One woman gave up marital sex for twenty years, which is the ugly point of the wife-hating Vatican in pushing NFP on couples who “sinfully choose marriage over clergy celibacy”.   Why do you think most women give up on NFP? — the article estimates that 10% of women ovulate at least twice per month, and this would largely explain NFP’s 80% failure rate over a year’s time according to one study I read years ago.  A commenter on National Catholic Reporter complained that her infertile cycle almost never coincided with the one week per month that her husband was home from the sea, and this brutal scheduling is true for most couples who work opposite and double shifts.

    I notice you cherry pick studies and findings.  One of your quotes above just busted the “lactation as natural birth control” myth and you didn’t even notice because you are just so determined to demonize BC pills that have so many more benefits than just contraception.  You also ignored my link on stress triggering ovulation.  I know that stress, dieting and extreme exercise have changed my cycle.

    I don’t know the name of the pre-internet study that proved sperm can live 10-15 days inside women, but someday I’ll find it.  Another barely researched area is the very high rate of birth defects and intersex gender anomalies resulting from Catholic NFP users.  That happened in my own family:  both of my brothers are probably gay, and one is even a different colored eyes chimera resulting from the fusion of two fraternal twins into a singleton!  His non-matching eye colors even show up in black and white photos!

    That NFP “works” for you is probably due to your consumption of zygote-aborting coffee, wine, high estrogen plants like soy, or even chlamydia from your husband’s secret cheating (the Georgetown med school has an ugly mother-killing protocol taught to males-only urology students: they’re instructed to directly call cheating husbands’ wives’ gynocologists to call in the unsuspecting wives for “yeast infection” treatments, so the wives are never tempted to use real birth control or call divorce lawyers!  Sin prevention is more important than saving lives in the “pro-life” RCC!).

    Since you hate chemicals so much, perhaps you have “natural cures” for STDs and intersex gay infants also?

  • give-em-hell-mary

    You should know that illnesses, infections, etc. also make masturbation mucus-“reading” methods also highly unreliable!

  • ljean8080

    is a pedophile.

  • crowepps

    There was a much larger group of priests who merely knew the sexual abuse was going on, who covered it  up and sheltered the offenders and perpetuated it so there wouldn’t be ‘scandal’.

  • colleen

    This larger group of priests also often threatened and punished the raped children and the parents of the raped children.  One would think that the resident right wing ‘disability’ advocates here would be upset by the large number of disabled children violated but they never mention that. odd

  • jennifer-starr

    No, but they sure covered it up, shuttled the priests from parish to parish–wanted to keep it in the church and keep it out of the hands of law enforcement officials. In my book that makes them just as guilty as the abusers. Even the Pope himself wrote a letter telling people to keep it in the church.  You can’t defend the indefensible. 

  • give-em-hell-mary

    Well whoop dee do!  And did you know that 90% of priests who aren’t pedophiles are gay and straight playboys while you practice all that holy abstinence?  Moreover, straight priests make their impregnated mistresses get abortions!  Former monk/therapist/author Richard Sipe knows 50 women forced to get abortions by their lover priests.  Your church donations not only defend pedophile priests, malpractice against pregnant and raped women in Catholic hospitals, but also philandering priests’ abortion tabs and sex tours in Catholic poverty pits like the Philippines! 

  • crowepps

    Got to say, whenever an apologist for the institutional Catholic Church talks about “but the church has done so much *good* through its hospitals, orphanages and schools for the disabled” the thing that springs to my mind is “right, except their motive was apparently to have a big pool of victims to abuse so as to be able to inhale their suffering”: 

     

    The Pope has been berated for not defrocking a priest, Lawrence Murphy, who was indeed molesting children. Not only did this priest molest children, he molested over two hundred deaf boys. … This priest worked at the same deaf school, St. John’s School for the Deaf, for 24 years from 1950 to 1974.

    http://www.disaboom.com/disability-rights-and-advocacy-general/deaf-community-shocked-by-priest-scandal-at-deaf-school

    and

    Garabedian and the plaintiffs estimated that one out of four nuns at the school were involved directly in abuse, and said the school’s principals severely punished students who spoke up.

    “The physical abuse is extremely disturbing. It’s disturbing, ugly and pitiful,” Garabedian said.

    http://fookembug.wordpress.com/2007/02/24/attorney-1-in-4-nuns-abused-deaf-kids/

    and

    Mother Theresa “has also been criticized for her view on suffering. She felt that suffering would bring people closer to Jesus.[81] Sanal Edamaruku, President of Rationalist International, criticised the failure to give painkillers, writing that in her Homes for the Dying, one could “hear the screams of people having maggots tweezered from their open wounds without pain relief. On principle, strong painkillers were not administered even in severe cases. According to Mother Teresa’s philosophy, it is ‘the most beautiful gift for a person that he can participate in the sufferings of Christ’.”[82]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Teresa#Criticism

     

     

  • thepope

    Excuse me?  I wrote no such letter.  I assume you’re referring to CARDINAL Ratzinger’s letter in 2001.  CARDINAL Ratzinger, however, was no POPE.  At least not then.  The POPE would never write such a letter.  For once a man becomes Pope, he sheds his former flawed shell of humanity and becomes God’s own sock puppet– the very mouthpiece of God himself.  CARDINAL Ratzinger no longer exists.  He’s been replaced by Pope Benedict, a divine marionette who bears a striking resemblance to Emperor Palpatine.  The indefensible has been defended.  So says the Supreme Pontiff.

     

    -Pope’s Edict, 2012

  • thepope

    Excuse me?  I wrote no such letter.  I assume you’re referring to CARDINAL Ratzinger’s letter in 2001.  CARDINAL Ratzinger, however, was no POPE.  At least not then.  The POPE would never write such a letter.  For once a man becomes Pope, he sheds his former flawed shell of humanity and becomes God’s own sock puppet– the very mouthpiece of God himself.  CARDINAL Ratzinger no longer exists.  He’s been replaced by Pope Benedict, a divine marionette who bears a striking resemblance to Emperor Palpatine.  The indefensible has been defended.  So says the Supreme Pontiff.

     

    -Pope’s Edict, 2012

  • jennifer-starr

    Ratzinger and the Pope are one and the same, and the Supreme Pontiff is, quite frankly, full of it :)  

  • ack

    I agree with the other posters that’s it isn’t about the condoms, it’s about the education. I knew friends who kept a condom or two in their cars, without realizing that scorching Arizona heat degrades the latex. I’m really glad you and your partner have been successful, just as I’m glad my partner and I have been. But what that really means is that we know how to use them.

     

    From my perspective, we really need to start looking at use of contraception as a lifeskill. It’s like balancing a checkbook. 99% of people are going to do it at some point.

     

    This, however, is coming from someone who lives in a state with what HAS TO BE one of the worst sex ed statutes in the country. They’re required to cover sexual conduct with a minor. The only other guidance from the state is this:

     

    15-716Instruction on acquired immune deficiency syndrome; department assistance

    A. Each common, high and unified school district may provide instruction to kindergarten programs through the twelfth grade on acquired immune deficiency syndrome and the human immunodeficiency virus.

    B. Each district is free to develop its own course of study for each grade. At a minimum, instruction shall:

    1. Be appropriate to the grade level in which it is offered.

    2. Be medically accurate.

    3. Promote abstinence.

    4. Discourage drug abuse.

    5. Dispel myths regarding transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus.

    C. No district shall include in its course of study instruction which:

    1. Promotes a homosexual life-style.

    2. Portrays homosexuality as a positive alternative life-style.

    3. Suggests that some methods of sex are safe methods of homosexual sex.

    D. At the request of a school district, the department of health services or the department of education shall review instruction materials to determine their medical accuracy.

    E. At the request of a school district, the department of education shall provide the following assistance:

    1. A suggested course of study.

    2. Teacher training.

    3. A list of available films and other teaching aids.

    F. At the request of a parent, a pupil shall be excused from instruction on the acquired immune deficiency syndrome and the human immunodeficiency virus as provided in subsection A of this section. The school district shall notify all parents of their ability to withdraw their child from the instruction.

     

    ________

     

    How freaking homophobic, and this is IN STATUTE. I guess the good news is that you have to be medically accurate. 

     

    And there are literally school districts in our state where you can’t say the word “condom.”

     

    That’s the problem. Not the condoms themselves.

     

    Edited to add: This session, the legislature added a section mandating that sex ed curricula must adhere to this:

     

    15-115. Preference for childbirth and adoption; allowable presentations

    A. In view of the state’s strong interest in promoting childbirth and adoption over elective abortion, no school district or charter school in this state may endorse or provide financial or instructional program support to any program that does not present childbirth and adoption as preferred options to elective abortion.

    B. In view of the state’s strong interest in promoting childbirth and adoption over elective abortion, no school district or charter school in this state may allow any presentation during instructional time or furnish any materials to pupils as part of any instruction that does not give preference, encouragement and support to childbirth and adoption as preferred options to elective abortion.

  • prochoiceferret

    Got to say, whenever an apologist for the institutional Catholic Church talks about “but the church has done so much *good* through its hospitals, orphanages and schools for the disabled” the thing that springs to my mind …

     

    One thing that often comes to my mind then is Hamas.

  • ack

    There are rad fem blogs out there who tout this method, which is where most of my knowledge comes from. But we are still faced with the same issue we face with ALL kinds of contraception: typical use vs. perfect use.

     

    I appreciate what feminist Fertility Awareness tries to reach: women in sync with their bodies and therefore in control of them. However, you really do have to be incredibly comfortable with your body and highly educated about how to use the method in order for it to work. Previous posters were right when they said that “studies” on NFP as pushed by the Church don’t pass scholarly muster. You can throw out a couple of outliers in reputable research, but you can’t throw out everyone who just doesn’t do it right or sucks at what you’re examining. It would be like doing a study on washing dishes and figuring out that 99% of people with dishwashers rinse their dishes and immdiately put them in, while excluding all the people in your study who rinse the dishes and leave them in the sink, or just leave them in the sink. You’re left with the people who leave them on the table. It’s just bad stat analysis. That’s why failure rates for condoms and hormonal BC tease that out. The fact that the Church highlights studies that don’t do that makes the whole endeavor highly suspect. 

     

    The reasons that people have pushed back against this method are varied. First, it’s largely being touted by an institution which has historically (and currently) chastisted people for masturbation. The message, “It’s dirty down there, don’t touch it, save it for someone you love,” is not only bizarrely contradictory but also contrary to the very acts necessary to successfully be aware of one’s cycle. Second, there are a LOT of individual biological variations which require the consultation of a doctor to identify (previous posters outlined some situations highlighting this). People think this is something they can do by themselves, but they really need the guidance of a practictioner. Again, typical vs. perfect use.

     

    I’m completely supportive of whatever method of pregnancy prevention a woman wants to use. But she MUST know how to use it effectively. Availability doesn’t solve the whole problem. 

  • ack

    I ask this of people I disagree with, so I have to ask it of you as well: please cite your sources. Unfounded stats only place us in the same position as anti-choicers who rely on emotion rather than fact.

  • give-em-hell-mary

    I wrote this from memory.  Somewhere among my hundreds of books, magazines and newspaper clippings, I have at least one, possibly two books by Dr. Richard Sipe and a couple articles by him (one appeared in The Washington Post).  He has his own web site.

    http://www.richardsipe.com/

    http://www.richardsipe.com/about_richard.htmlv

    “A.W. RICHARD SIPE is a Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor who earlier spent 18 years as a Benedictine monk and priest. He was trained specifically to deal with the mental health problems of Roman Catholic Priests. In the process of training and therapy, he conducted a 25-year ethnographic study of the celibate/sexual behavior of that population. His study, published in 1990, is now considered a classic. Sipe is known internationally and has participated in 12 documentaries on celibacy and priest sexual abuse aired by HBO, BBC, and other networks in the United States, United Kingdom, and France. He has been widely interviewed by media including CNN, ABC, NBC, CNBC, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, People magazine, Newsweek and USA Today.  Sipe lives with his wife in La Jolla, CA.”

    It was probably in his following book that I read of his years of treating troubled priests that made him conclude that about 90% break their chastity vows, usually with adults, and that they make mistresses get abortions.  Convicted pedophile priest Paul Shanley made the same claim about forced abortions and I’ve read of many such cases around the U.S. and in Canada.  Perhaps, this info is also repeated on his web site, but I haven’t searched it thoroughly.  I hope this helps you.  It’s an endless rabbit hole subject.

    Sex, Priests and Power

    “Before today’s headlines of pedophile priests, Sipe wrote the book exposing the sexual crisis facing the Catholic Church….Recounts vivid and chilling stories of sexual abuse—of priests abusing children, priest abusing women, and priests abusing other priests.”

    Abuse Tracker also is a good site, and new articles from around the globe are added every hour:

    http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AbuseTracker/

    I’ve concluded that most priests live double lives and should be the last people ordering women what to do with their reproductive health.

  • give-em-hell-mary

    Thank you for exposing “Mother” Teresa’s religious cruelty.  The late Christopher Hitchens, Ann Sebba and former volunteer Hemley Gonzalez have detailed senseless and shocking medical malpractice by her and her nuns.

  • jogard

    Carole, I find it unfortunate that you – and a startling majority of those commenting on your article – are dangerously uninformed with regard to a flagrantly false premise you presented.

    Your entire charge of hypocrisy (which you conclude based on nothing beyond oddly-fixated speculation) is based on your assumption that “…Ryan is a co-sponsor of a federal “Sanctity of Human Life Act,” which among other things, would prohibit many forms of birth control…”

    This, however, is simply not the case. I understand that many people do not have the time to fact check their accusations, and often feel that the statement must be true because it conforms to their own strong stereotypes about the opposing party, but the moment you take on the privilege of a PLATFORM – a means of disseminating your view – you assume the responsibility that it be factually correct. As you can see, it was not. The bill in question affirms when the sponsors believe life begins, and re-affirms the rights of respective jurisdictions to take actions to protect life (something these jurisdictions already have). There is no ban, there is no defunding of anything, and to suggest otherwise is to abandon fairness and simply parrot dishonest talking points. I’m sure the Romney/Ryan campaign won’t ask for an apology – in fact, there’s virtually no chance that this is on their radar in the vast sea of noise. But you should perhaps consider providing one to your readers, who you have (knowingly or otherwise) misled. 

    Cheers,

    John

  • jennifer-starr

    I think you’re being more than a little disingenuous here, John.  This bill is more than just a mere statement of belief–it’s an attempt to persuade legislatures to enforce this belief. 

  • crowepps

    Laws and constitutional amendments similar to this Act have already been passed in other countries in this hemisphere and in Europe.  The results of these are already known: criminalization of miscarriage, preventing doctors from providing standard medical care, inability to effectively treat comorbid conditions, banning many of the most effective means of birth control, and the deaths of many many women.

    Your refusal to recognize and address those known consequences is an attempt to use the ‘oopsy’ defense, but it is an indisputable fact that ‘no one can do anything at all that has a negative impact on a conception’ reduces women to mere disposable containers, and strips from them their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

  • ack

    I genuinely like it when people give me things to read, thus avoiding things I should be doing…

     

    Thanks for backing up your claims. I also write things on blogs based on stuff I’ve read yet don’t identify, but I wanted to level the playing field as far as citation!

  • breadknotboms

    I have read Ms. Joffe article and totally agree with the premise that the GOP are hypocrites in this specific area and in general. The teachings of Jesus can be used as a checklist of their hypocrisy.

    I have become aware of a fact that may complicate her argument. I believe at least one of the Ryan sons have been adopted.  My source is an employee of the agency. Of course this fact does not say anything to the medical / fertility conditions of the Ryans. But it is an interesting fact.