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Friday, February 10, 2012

My Countering of the Guttmacher Institute, the Affordable Care Act, and the "98% of Catholic Women

"A half-truth is a whole lie." - Yiddish Proverb

Do any of these statements seem familiar to you?  These are the statements that are being used right now, in thousands of news stories throughout our nation in regards to the Catholic Church, the Affordable Care Act, and the lack of support/shared belief the Church has with Her people:

April 2011
"Among all women who have had sex, 99% have ever used a contraceptive method other than natural family planning. This figure is virtually the same, 98%, among sexually experienced Catholic women." - Guttmacher Institute

Page 4 of: Countering Conventional Wisdom: New Evidence on Religion and Contraceptive Use

February 1st, 2012
“According to a study by the Guttmacher Institute, most women, including 98 percent of Catholic women, have used contraception.” Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, written on the White House Blog

February 10th, 2012
"98 percent of Catholic women use birth control at some point in their lifetimes" - REUTERS

----I will make one small statement before I go on.  How is it virtually possible for 98% of Catholic Women to "have used" a contraceptive when over 8% of the population of females, ages 15-44, have never had intercourse?  And, if over 2% of the population is sterile from non-contraceptive reasons (surgical and non surgical), again, how can the 98% be possible?----

A little history:

In April 2011, Rachel K. Jones and Joerg Dreweke with the Guttmacher Institute, published a report titled: Countering Conventional Wisdom: New Evidence on Religion and Contraceptive Use. The opening statement in the report begins by informing readers that almost every woman in the United States uses a contraceptive method.  This report is a complete analysis on statistical information that was gathered by the Center for Disease Control between 2006 and 2008.  This 8 page report focuses on religion and contraceptive use to attempt to inform readers the extent of contraceptive use among United States women, primarily on the group that would likely oppose contraceptives the most; Catholic women.  The goal was to support the claim that contraceptive use is a "vital component of preventative and public health care."

On February 1st, 2012, in the middle of this ongoing debate regarding the Affordable Care Act, Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, wrote on the White House Blog “According to a study by the Guttmacher Institute, most women, including 98 percent of Catholic women, have used contraception.”

Ms. Muñoz wrote this information on the blog which was part of seven "facts" regarding the Affordable Care Act.  This statement was listed to explain how contraception is widely accepted, used, expected, and wanted by all American women.  With the Catholic Church being a large voice against this act, Ms. Muñoz attempted to explain how the Catholic Churches views and teachings are not followed or even supported by Her own people due to the overwhelming findings that 98 percent of Catholic women have used contraception.

The Data (double check me!)

I would like to not only explain how the information is totally biased, but also show you how to look at the reports yourself and double check my findings.  As Obama's administration would call it "Total Transparency."  Because the information has been used in the incorrect context, is not explained in more detail, and contains cherry picked statistics to get to shocking numbers, the report and comments from the Guttmacher Institute is incorrect.  Or, as the Proverb would say, since it is really only a half truth, it is a whole lie.
This link will take you to the official 8 page study that was performed by the Guttmacher Institute in which Ms. Muñoz and thousands of others have been misquoting a misrepresented percentage regarding the Church and the women of the Church.

This link will take you to a survey that was performed by the Center for Disease Control in 2006 through 2008.  This report and its statics were used by the Guttmacher Institute in their analysis.  Below is the actual graph from the CDC that shows the actual amount of women that use contraceptives and by most popular methods.

Page 7: Use of Contraception in the United States: 1982-2008
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

This link will show you the Blog that currently still has the "half-truth" statement by Ms. Muñoz.  As one of Obama's top aides, precision was not taken into consideration when posting this blog. 




The REAL numbers:

Out of the entire population of females in child bearing years (age 15-44), 61.9% have used a contraceptive method to prevent pregnancy.  In other words, the report from the Guttmacher Institute was only based on 61.9% of women ages 15-44 (which does not include age 45+ females).
  • Not using contraceptives: 38.1%
    • 5.4% of women are pregnant or post-partum
    • 4.1% are currently trying to get pregnant
    • 19.2% have either never had intercourse or were excluded from this study because they had not had intercourse within 3 months prior to being interviewed for this study.
    • 1.7% are sterile from non-surgical and non-contraceptive causes
    • .4% are surgically sterile but was non-contraceptive
    • 7.3% are currently having intercourse but are not using contraceptives
  • Using/Have Used Contraceptives at least once to avoid pregnancy: 61.8%
    • Sterilization: 23% (22.8%)
    • Abortifacients/Birth Control: 25% (24.8%)
    • Barrier Methods: 10% (9.9%)
    • Abstinence: 1% (.6%)
    • Withdrawal: 3% (3.2%)
Out of the entire population of females in child bearing age (15-44), 61.9% are currently using contraceptives to avoid pregnancy.  Distribution by method below is applied only to the 61.9%.
  •  Sterilization: 37%
    • Female Sterilization – 27.1%
    • Male Sterilization – 9.9%
  • Abortifacients/Birth Control: 40.20%
    • Pill – 28%
    • Implant, Lunelle, or patch – 1.1%
    • Depo-Provera - 3.2
    • Contraceptive Ring - 2.4
    • IUD - 5.5
  • Barrier Methods: 16.1%
    • Condom - 16.1
  • Abstinence: 1.1%
    • Calendar Rhythm - .9%
    • Natural Family Planning - .2%
  • Withdrawal – 5.2%
  • Other - .04%
If the above represents only the 61.9% of the population of women in child bearing years (15-44), then the following is the accurate representation of percentages for the percent of ALL women in child bearing years (ages 15-44) in relation to contraceptive use.
  • Sterilization: 23% (22.9%)
  • Abortifacients/Birth Control: 25% (24.8%)
  • Barrier Methods: 10% (9.9%)
  • Abstinence: 1% (.7%)
  • Withdrawal: 3% (3.2%)
  • Do not use contraception: 38%
If the same is applied to all Catholic women in child bearing years (15-44), than the following is the accurate percentages for ALL Catholic women in child bearing years (ages 15-44) in relation to contraceptive use.
  • Sterilization: 20% (19.776%)
  • Abortifacients/Birth Control: 22% (22.248%)
  • Barrier Methods: 12% (11.742%)
  • Abstinence: 1% (1.236%)
  • Withdrawal: 2% (2.472%)
  • Do not use contraception: 43%

My Analysis:

The Guttmacher report used the percentages below in their statement of 98% as they took into consideration the 2% listed as using Natural Family Planning.  However, they did not include the 11% that was listed under No Method.  In addition, they neglected to inform the reader the percentage of the population that was represented in the 98%.

When you compare the biased information that was provided by Guttmacher with the actual statistics provided by the C.D.C. in which Guttmacher "cherry picked," the comparison is shocking.


42% of all Catholic Women in child bearing years (ages 15-44) have used at least once, birth control methods that would be offered for free through the Affordable Care Act.  This includes 20% who are either sterile or have a partner who is sterile for contraceptive reasons and 22% that use a form of hormonal birth control (Pill/IUD).

Catholic Women in child bearing years (ages 15-44) also use non-hormonal methods as contraceptives which are not included in the Affordable Care Act.  12% have used the condom at least once and 2% have used methods such as withdrawal at least once.

Finally, 1% of Catholic Women in child bearing years (ages 15-44) utilize Natural Family Planning as a form of contraceptive which is supported by the Catholic Church.

Per the CDC, it is also important to note that there are an additional 7.6% of women who are currently having intercourse, and are not using any form of contraception as a prevention for pregnancy.  This practice is not against Catholic teaching.

The remaining amount of the population, that are not included in the above which would all be supported by the Catholic Church are as follows:
  • 5.4% are either pregnant or post-partum
  • 4.1% are currently trying to get pregnant
  • 19.2% have either never had intercourse or were excluded from this study because they had not had intercourse within 3 months prior to being interviewed for this study.
  • 1.7% are sterile from non-surgical and non-contraceptive causes
  • .4% are surgically sterile but was non-contraceptive

Page 21: Use of Contraception in the United States: 1982-2008
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

One final statement:

The report from the Guttmacher Institute that was used to state that 98% of Catholic women who have had sex have used contraceptives has been overly quoted for the past 2 weeks.  If you went to Google and under the search tools went back day by day searching 3 simple words: Catholic Contraceptive 98%, it would result in 100's of articles per day.  Over the course of two weeks, the damage that has been done is unimaginable.  What I have written will likely not make it past those of you that know me.  Which ultimately leaves us to one point - continue to pray for our leaders, pray for our priests, and pray for those that attempt to hurt us most.  This isn't about money, power, or status... This is about protecting our rights to practice or not practice religion, to beleive in that religion, to not be punished for those beleifs, to not be forced to do something against those beleifs, and ultimately, demand our leaders to stop spreading racism (even reverse racism), to stop spreading anti-anyReligion sentiment, and to stop creating problems to simply take attention off of another area that we, as Americans, should be focusing on... remaining free.

The best gift you can give yourself is to pray for those that oppose you and the best retaliation you can give to someone who is against God, is to pray for them. 

-- Crystal Fulton

6 comments:

  1. Brilliant. This is the most detailed and informational postings I have seen regarding this subject. You really know your stuff!

    Thank you for taking time to do this!

    Amazing Debunk! Time to go after Politifact!

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  2. Thank you for writing this. I can't express what a complete shock it was to read this. And I'm trying to spread the word. So disappointing.

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  3. You are the first person to actually list this. Pretty Awesome

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  4. Great compilation and thanks for doing it. One small point - Nfp is not "a form of contraceptive," just family planning ;-)

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  5. Thanks everyone! I can't believe how this took off. It is kind of humbling. And thank you everyone for the private messages too. I'm not a writer, and have no idea what came over me on this subject, so no, unfortunately, I have no other blog to share. But thank you for the flattery! And thank you Beate. :) I completely agree (I personally used NFP). I know NFP is family planning and some call it a form of contraception even though it is not a "contraceptive" just like the institute said "no method" was a "contraceptive"... but whats even better about it - I think it is the most romantic and quick way to rekindle the fire between a husband and wife if done correctly. So really, it might lead to more babies. haha! jk

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  6. Thank you so much for doing this! This is a great breakdown of that horribly misrepresented statistic. Essentially, they excluded anyone not using contraception in their study (other than NFP), then claimed that 98% of women used contraception.

    I really appreciate your effort to spread the truth on this subject.

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