The Oct. 20 front-page article "A Fracture of Faith" is not only seriously flawed but also highly insulting to the local Catholic Church. The article includes wrong information about Depo-Provera, misrepresents the church's teachings on birth control and natural family planning (NFP) and maligns the Archdiocese of Washington.

The article reports that the Pregnancy Aid Center "found no medical evidence that Depo-Provera causes abortions." That is because there are no studies isolating how many times Depo-Provera causes abortion. There are studies, however, that describe how Depo-Provera works: It primarily inhibits ovulation; it thickens and decreases cervical mucus, thereby preventing sperm penetration; and it alters the uterine lining to prevent implantation should conception occur (early abortion).

The Catholic Church has a holistic understanding of sexual activity. Most people don't know that natural family planning, described in the article as "abstention from intercourse during a woman's fertile period," is as effective as the birth control pill for pregnancy avoidance. Most also don't know that natural family planning fosters self-respect for both partners, encourages growth in couple communication and has absolutely no harmful side effects. These methods empower women and require responsibility from men.

It is regrettable that this article implies that the Archdiocese of Washington plays the bully to a fragile pregnancy aid center. No mention is made of the plethora of church support for the poor. No word about the difficulty the church is put in when a Catholic colleague breaks from it. No institution, including the Archdiocese of Washington, should support organizations that oppose its beliefs.

--Theresa Notare

The writer is special assistant for

the Diocesan Development Program

for Natural Family Planning

at the National Conference

of Catholic Bishops.