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Guttmacher report on Catholic contraceptive use

April 14, 2011

A research institute named after a president of Planned Parenthood and vice president of the American Eugenics Society has issued a report on the use of contraceptives among Catholic and Protestant women.

“Data for the report come from the 2006–2008 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), which gathered information on contraceptive use from a nationally representative sample of women,” the Guttmacher Institute stated in “Countering Conventional Wisdom: New Evidence on Religion and Contraceptive Use.” “Our analysis focuses on women who identify as Catholic, Mainline Protestant and Evangelical Protestant and includes information about attendance at religious services and religiosity.”

Among the report’s findings-- all of which refer to women of reproductive age (15-44):

  • 25% describe themselves as Catholic, 25% as evangelical, and 22% as mainline Protestant
  • 30% of Catholic women attend Mass weekly, while 50% of evangelicals and 24% of mainline Protestants worship weekly
  • 46% of Catholic women say religion is very important to their daily lives, compared to 77% of evangelicals and 44% of mainline Protestants
  • 98% of Catholic women-- and 99% of all women-- have at one time used artificial contraception.
  • “68% of Catholic women use highly effective methods: sterilization (32%, including 24% using female sterilization,) the pill or another hormonal method (31%) and the IUD (5%).
  • “Only 3% of married Catholic women who do not want to become pregnant rely on natural family planning; 72% use highly effective methods, including 40% who rely on sterilization.”

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    • Posted by: damian.riggs8445 - Apr. 18, 2011 1:49 PM ET USA

      The blame-game is cheap and easy; what about the Domestic Church? You know, the home and a parent's right and duty to pass the Faith along to the next generation. History is filled with the ebb and flow of faithfulness and morality. If we are experiencing a new Epiphany, then our response aught to be that of acceptance and prayer, not blame toward others. We all do things right and wrong. Let us seek the good and forgiveness for our and others' failings. Holy Spirit fill our hearts.

    • Posted by: mdepietro - Apr. 17, 2011 4:12 PM ET USA

      So much for the Church's teaching re contraception. Ok its a hard teaching. Still I recall a memory. I was a kid, age 10, 11 years old. A Planned Parenthood TV AD around 1970 extolling the virtues of making every child a "wanted child". I was repelled. Something toxic there. It hit me, I did not want to "planned" so as to be wanted. What I wanted was to be "wanted" even if unplanned. Perhaps I would now call this unconditional love. Maybe this is what the teaching re contraception is about.

    • Posted by: Lahrye - Apr. 16, 2011 11:40 AM ET USA

      To see this in print makes valid all the gossip of Woman using 'Cafeteria Style' version of our Catholic Catechism. Isn't it to be 100% or nothing at all when we restate our Baptismal Vows? Larry M. †

    • Posted by: Obregon - Apr. 15, 2011 12:37 AM ET USA

      To this day, even now as we experience "the reform of the reform" priests and bishops are still failing miserably to speak forcefully on Humanae Vitae. No wonder these statistics are what they are.

    • Posted by: impossible - Apr. 14, 2011 10:26 PM ET USA

      Keep this well stated principle in mind: "The moral of the story, for Bishop McCormack and other Catholic leaders: When you have forfeited your moral authority, resign." How many of our present clergy forfeited their moral authority regarding Humanae Vitae?

    • Posted by: - Apr. 14, 2011 5:39 PM ET USA

      If these numbers are accurate, and I don't doubt they are close, we have no one but our priests and bishops to blame for remaining silent all those years that questions were asked and not answered. One more way the "professional Catholics" have subverted the teachings of Christ...remaining silent. I truly would not want to be in their shoes at the Final Judgment. Jesus Is Lord!