When Contraceptive Statistics are Abused

Over the years, I’ve noticed the occasional argument about birth control and contraceptives in general arguing against usage statistics.

As conservative blogger Tom Quiner posted:

The government study states that:

“More than 99 percent of U.S. women aged 15 to 44 years who have ever had sexual intercourse with a male have used at least one contraceptive method.”

It doesn’t say that “one” method is the pill, as Ms. Cutter stated. And note, this is not 99 % of all women, it is 99% of one segment of women.

At the time the survey was taken, only 61.8% of women were using some method of contraception.

The 99% and 98% statistics touted by Team Obama is derived from reproductive studies by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, an arm of Planned Parenthood.

Their study excludes the following groups from their study:

√ women over the age of 44

√ women who are pregnant

√ women who are post-partem

√ women who are trying to get pregnant

An obscure footnote in the Guttmacher study reveals that, in fact, they only interviewed women who have had sexual intercourse in the last three months. The study was cherry-picked to exclude women least likely to use birth control and target those most likely to use it.

Team Obama’s 99 and 98 percents are fiction.

However, it seems that Mr. Quiner, among others, have forgotten some things I mentioned in my comment response (currently awaiting approval):

I have a couple of things I feel needs to be pointed out, Tom, if I may.

-You mentioned that they failed to mention women over 44, but I believe they were going for women who typically would not hit menopause. Typically, menopause would affect women in their late forties at the earliest.

-You mention women who are pregnant. Unless one or both partners have an STD, pregnancy would no longer be a factor for the use of contraception. On that matter, birth control medication would throw off hormone levels, unless dictated by her physician.

-You mention women who are post-partem. Outside of a 6-8 week window after a traditional where vaginal sex would not be possible, or up to 6 months with a c-section, I don’t understand how this is a factor?

-You mention women trying to get pregnant. This would not be a factor in terms of contraceptive use. Ideally, in terms of condom or birth control usage, it would cease when attempting to get pregnant. Once again, I have to ask how this would be a factor in if they use contraception.

I see nothing on the Guttmacher Institute website that associates them with Planned Parenthood, did I miss something?

Also, the fact you quoted was not referring to current usage, though guttmacher does cite 62% currently use some form of contraception. The pill is not the only source of contraception, though it is one of the more commonly used.

One final point/question, since I think I missed the post you mentioned to me before about how all Catholics that attend mass oppose birth control coverage. I don’t understand the rhetoric, since they are no longer needing to pay for that coverage. Is the fact the insurance company the religious organization chooses will pay for it, even though they won’t, and they find it disagreeable?

While I can admit some fault if any of the information I have above is incorrect, and that Mr. Quiner doesn’t need to approve my comment, I want to stress what I mentioned above. In the cases mentioned above, contraceptives would not serve a purpose in preventing pregnancy. Also, once sex is feasible after birth, post-partum* may not be a factor for a short time after sex, due to physical conditions and the body returning to a pre-pregnant state. This can range anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months, for various women, depending on her physical state after giving birth; as it can often be painful.

So, really, when it comes down to it, I have ask that we do not twist facts. You’re entitled to your opinions, but please don’t twist or ignore facts to make your argument.

*Tom and I misspelled post-partum as post-partem, I caught. Oops.

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