Planned Parenthood Grossly Mislabels 98% of Catholic Women

thumbnailCAS2GAAVThe abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, has been beating up on Catholic women recently by repeatedly referencing a survey issued by the Guttmacher Institute called “Countering Conventional Wisdom: New Evidence on Religion and Contraceptive Use.”…



by Deacon Joe Donohoe

Director of Deacon Personnel

Archdiocese of Denver

thumbnailCAS2GAAV The abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, has been beating up on Catholic women recently by repeatedly referencing a survey issued by the Guttmacher Institute called “Countering Conventional Wisdom: New Evidence on Religion and Contraceptive Use.”  (See the study at  The primary premise coming from this study is that 98% of Catholic women have used or are actively taking contraceptives. 

Interestingly enough, this Planned Parenthood statement comes out in defense of the Health and Human Services decision which infringes on the religious liberties against US citizens across the country, and in particular, Roman Catholics.  The government mandate requires the Catholic Church to issue products that eliminate or prevent a child in the womb from surviving. In an awkward way, the justification used by pro-abortion advocates employs the 98% statistical data point to justify and unjustifiable position on our rights as citizens and Catholics.
As many statisticians know, statistics such as the one referenced by the abortion industry are easily manipulated and, in this case, have been grossly exaggerated. Like much of the information that comes from the Planned Parenthood, this statistical analysis has been embellished to the point that it nullifies the credence of the study completely and becomes an attack on the faithful women of the Catholic Church. 

An effective way to evaluate this Guttmacher study and more specifically the claims by abortion proponents is to look at three basic elements of any statistical survey.  First, the population being surveyed is key to determining what the target audience will be.  It also helps draw accurate conclusions for those conducting the survey.  Second, the parameters that are used should focus on a discrete and exact area of evaluation.  The objective of the survey will have a lot to do with what specific qualities that are being questioned.  Finally, the source can be important and should be considered before drawing any conclusion.  By looking at these three factors alone, it should be clear that the reality is not nearly as bad as Planned Parenthood would have you believe. 

Population:  According to the study, only 30 % of the population included Catholic women who attended Mass on a weekly basis.  The remaining 70 % of Catholic women attended sporadically; once a month at best.  This included 11% of women surveyed who indicated they never attended Mass.   So while one can argue that a Catholic is defined as attending Mass once a month or less, by any justifiable standard it would be hard to develop a position that 70% of these individuals are involved enough in their faith to understand the teaching of Catholic Doctrine. The bottom line is that the population used in the survey consists of many women who are Catholic by their baptism only.  

Parameters:  The survey intentionally excluded a large percentage of child bearing women.  In addition, any woman who was not sexually active, was postpartum, pregnant, or trying to get pregnant were all excluded from the study.  One would think that by including these women in the study, the survey data point would have dramatically decreased from the 98% accusation.   Lyndia McDrews in her article, “How to Lie with Statistics, Example Upteen,   indicated the study was specifically designed to include only women for whom a pregnancy would be unintended and who are “at risk” of becoming pregnant.”  This statement alone would eliminate many Catholic women from the survey! For example, those nuns who have consecrated their lives to celibacy are not included in the survey.

The survey used a sample size between the ages of 15 to 44.  This sample size begs the question; does this mean women under the age of 15 and over the age of 44 were not really Catholic?  To make a generalized statement that 98% of all Catholic women have used birth control becomes misguided and untrue since a significant number of the Catholic women are not included in the referenced age bracket. As stated above, those teenage women would have to be sexually active to qualify for the study.  As a side, it is also problematic that those women outside of the bracketed ages would be forced to have contraceptives in their health care under the edict by HHS.

Source:   According to the Guttmacher Study, the funding for the survey came from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.  Wikipedia states that this foundation funds grants for “The Population Program to promote family planning.”  The David and Lucille Packard Foundation also help fund the study.  According to their website, this foundation promotes “innovative work that addresses population growth and promotes positive reproductive health. Our goals are to slow population growth rates in high-fertility areas, and to ensure individual reproductive health and rights in order to improve the quality of life for more people.”   Do you think there might be an agenda here?

Even by looking at the raw survey data, one would conclude that the Planned Parenthood statistic falls far short of being reasonable.  According to the skewed study, 11% of those who answered the survey use no method of birth control!  In addition, 2% of sexually active women indicated they used Natural Family Planning or NFP Techniques.  So, even for a population of women that, for the most part, doesn’t attend Church regularly, 13% are not using contraceptives!  Another 4% answered that they used other methods of birth control which could mean anything from abortion to sleeping in separate rooms.

So, where does the 98% Planned Parenthood number come from?  To be honest, the only way to make sense of it is to deduct the 2% of women that use NFP.  However, this would cause one to be misled and make a gross assumption that every Catholic woman, except for the 2%, uses birth control of some sort. 

The truth is that the survey is useless and invalidates itself, and the absurd statements by the pro-abortion proponents are terribly misguided.  Logic would conclude that the study was developed to justify a pre-determined conclusion.  Indeed, the study begins by stating, “The debate over contraception has long been settled in real-life America. At some point in her life, virtually every woman in the United States uses at least one contraceptive method.”  How’s that for a pre-determined disposition! In actual fact, these pseudo-analysts have deliberately disqualified any woman that might potentially defer from using contraceptives.  By disqualifying these Catholic women, the study forces itself into a predetermined and desired conclusion.

Because of all the errors in the survey and the resounding claims made by abortion groups, it seems we might be able to infer from there misrepresentation that there are many Catholic women who are faithful to the teaching of the Church and are receptive to God’s Intervention in their lives; whether it is lived out in married chastity or religious celibacy.  Thus, we should all be thankful to God that He made wonderful mothers and devout religious sisters that embrace life in many ways and without conditions.  After all, these women can feel privileged that they are one of the “impediments” to the above study.

by Deacon Joe Donohoe

Director of Deacon Personnel

Archdicoese of Denver


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