Dr. John Billings, AM, KC*SG, FRCP, FRACP (5 March 1918 – 1 April 2007) was an Australian physician who pioneered the natural method of family planning known initially as the Ovulation Method, then the Ovulation Method Billings,specified by the WHO in 1978 and finally as the Billings Ovulation Method™.
He married Evelyn Livingston (8 February 1918 – 16 February 2013) in 1943, and they had nine children. He served as a medical doctor with the Australian Imperial Force in New Guinea during World War II.
In 1947, Billings was awarded a Nuffield Fellowship for postgraduate studies in London, where he specialised in neurology. On his return to Australia, he was made Head of the Department of Neurology at St Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne, and Dean of the Undergraduate Medical School within the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Melbourne. He was an exceptional clinician and teacher, and served on the Australian Medical Research Council.
In 1953, he began work on a method of natural family planning, involving observation of several indicators of fertility and infertility, gradually focusing on the changes to cervical mucus patterns of sensation. His wife, Dr. Evelyn "Lyn" Billings, became involved from 1963. The couple founded the World Organisation of the Ovulation Method Billings (WOOMB) as the body responsible for teaching the method throughout the world. Although Billings maintained his career as a consulting neurologist to St Vincent's Hospital, he and his wife spent a large part of each year traveling to other countries, and training teachers in the Billings Ovulation Method™, lecturing to doctors and students, and establishing teaching centers. The Method pioneered by the Billings was approved by both the Catholic Church and used by the World Health Organization. It was the only natural method accepted by the Chinese Government.
In 1969, Billings was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St Gregory the Great (KCSG) by Pope Paul VI. In 2003, Pope John Paul II added a star to this papal knighthood (KC*SG). In 2003, Dr. Evelyn Billings was made a Dame Commander of the Order of St Gregory the Great. Billings was also made a member of the Order of Australia in 1991.
Dr. John Billings died, aged 89, on 1 April 2007, at a Richmond aged care centre, survived by his wife, children and large extended family. His widow, Dr. Evelyn Billings, died on 16 February 2013, aged 95, following a brief illness.
- Press release on the death of Dr John Billings World Organisation of the Ovulation Method Billings, 2 April 2007.
- "Billings Method founder dies" News.com.au, 2 April 2007.
- John Billings, founder of natural family planning method, dies at 89 - website The Catholic News
- Biodata for Evelyn Billings
- "John Billings' legacy lives on" Herald Sun, 3 April 2007.
- Death of Dr. Evelyn Billings