Obama Cites Faulty Pro-Choice Study in Birth Control Debate

If you’ve been paying attention at all to the Contraception Mandate debacle, you have mostly likely heard a liberal politician, pro-choice advocate, or TV talking head, say that the Catholic Church’s stance on birth control is hypocritical because “98% of Catholic women use contraception.”  However, the study they are citing has some serious bias and methodology flaws.

The first problem is that the study was conducted by the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute, which is closely associated with Planned Parenthood and NARAL.  It seems to defy logic that such a biased source would produce results that could be taken seriously.  This bias turns into an even bigger problem when we look at the methodology used in the study.

When you do a poll, the idea is to get a number of responses that will accurately represent the certain sector of society that you wish to study–whether that be a sector based on religion, ideology, socio-economic status, or political party.  The whole point of a poll is to show an accurate picture, but if you choose to limit certain factors, you can seriously bias your results.

This is exactly what happened in the Guttmacher study. Instead of polling “all Catholic women” to accurately measure the actions of “all Catholic women,” they selectively took certain women out of the polling data.  Here are some examples:

Only women that were sexually active in the past 3 months were included in the poll, effectively taking out all women who follow the Catholic belief of preserving their virginity for marriage.

Women that were trying to get pregnant, were currently pregnant, or had just given birth were not polled, meaning that a large sector of Catholic women who clearly are NOT using contraception were excluded.

When you exclude women whose lifestyle or choices would be contrary to the finding you have in mind, of course you will get the results that you want.  This is why biased studies such as the one from the Guttmacher Institute are NOT an accurate representation of women in general, and certainly not of Catholic women.

Obama and his media minions are relying on false results to misinform the American public on a very important issue regarding religious freedom.  We must speak up and refute these false claims!

  • Oedipa

    Sorry, but I’m not going to be taking advice from LiveAction on how to read professional polls. I’d love to hear the study you do think is a more accurate reflection of the contraception use rate in Catholics. Let’s say this new, hypothetical study puts it closer to 51%. It’s still a big number, and it still means the Bishops have failed to impart those teachings. If they’ve failed, why should the government be made to help them un-fail?

    More broadly, I’m a little surprised that LiveAction’s official position now seems to be anti-contraception. That’s pretty backwards. Leave the bubble for a little bit, read some polls (oh, those damn polls!), you’ll find that even conservative women are running from that position in droves.

    • Deanna Candler

      It has nothing to do with whether I personally support contraception, and everything to do with religious freedom. I am not Catholic, but if I stand by and watch the government take away their right to religious freedom, who will be willing to stand up for my rights when they try to take them away? 
      I don’t know how many Catholic women actually use contraception methods, but I do know that this so-called “professional” study is not accurate. Its methodology is seriously flawed. I have taken classes on how to do these types of studies in the most unbiased and most accurate manner- and ignoring a large group of Catholic women (celibate, trying to get pregnant, currently pregnant, or just delivered) is NOT an accurate picture. 

      • Pissed Off

         And, who is willing to stand up for a woman’s right to basic health care?  Obviously, not you.  An individual’s rights should ALWAYS come first.  Protecting an employer’s so-called “moral conscience,” no matter their religious ties or beliefs, should not take precedence.  It is not fair to allow a Catholic entity to press their beliefs on individuals who believe differently.  The Obama administration is protecting the individuals’ rights, as it should be.

        Attacking the accuracy of Guttmacher’s polls makes for an incredibly poor argument.  Because guess what?!  Women trying to get pregnant, currently pregnant, or just delivered ARE ADVISED NOT TO TAKE BIRTH CONTROL!!!  That is probably why these women were not included in the study — because NO they would not have currently been on any form of birth control.

        • http://www.facebook.com/DeannaMarieCandler Deanna Marie Candler

          The last time I read my Constitution, there was NO RIGHT TO HEALTHCARE.

          Which is really a moot point, because no one is trying to keep women who want to purchase birth control, from being able to do so. The organizations are not trying to stop anyone from using birth control, they are simply objecting to have to PAY for someone else’s health care, especially when it interferes with their CONSTITUTIONAL right to “free exercise” of religion. Buy your own birth control- that’s all we are asking. Planned Parenthood’s website says it costs as low as $15 a month WITHOUT a prescription.
          And your last paragraph is exactly what I’m saying is wrong about the study. If the point of the study was to accurately reflect contraception usage of ALL Catholic women, then they should have included the women who are actually following Church teaching by not using it. Basically, all this study says is that “98% of women that are most likely to use contraception, use contraception.” Big surprise there. But in no way does is represent ALL Catholic women. That is why it is flawed. 

        • MoonChild02

          Actually, Guttmacher’s poll is MUCH more accurate than the poll that the President is citing. According to Guttmacher, only 62% of women of child bearing age use birth control.
          http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_contr_use.html

          Furthermore, so sorry, but religious freedom comes first. If there is even one restriction on religious exercise, then that leads to the repeal of the free exercise clause of the First Amendment, which leads to the repeal of the entirety of the First Amendment, which leads to the repeal of the Bill of Rights, which leads to the repeal of the Constitution, and the downfall of the United States as we know it! Therefore, the freedom of exercise of religion is an important one, because it is a linchpin of American freedom.

          If women want contraception coverage they can either not work for the Church, or they go to a health department clinic, independent clinic, outpatient clinic, or community health center, where they give out birth control for free, due to the fact that the government pours a couple billion dollars into contraception funding every year, and not just through Medicaid. The new health care bill expands that funding. Why the need to make employers pay for contraception and sterilization? In order to hamper religious freedom. It’s as simple as that.

          Bottom line: We should not have to pay for your sex life. You pro-aborts keep arguing that we need to keep our religion out of your bedroom, but the truth is you need to keep your bedroom activities out of our religion. We never said anything about outlawing contraception, we just don’t want to have to pay for it.

          • Guest

            Not really. there has never been complete freedom of religion in this country- for example, Mormons and polygamy. I agree that free exercise is very important, but it has always been balanced against other compelling interests.

        • drake

          Contraception isn’t basic health care, its a false ideology used to push an agenda. If the government wants to help maybe they should make chemotherapy free not something that is known to cause cancer.

          • Truth

            I probably should not even dignify your comment with a response, but it is entirely false, so I must.  Most forms of birth control – pill, shot, IUD, etc help prevent the formation of ovarian cysts, fibroids, endometriosis, cervical cancer and lessens the need for a woman to have a hysterectomy at a young age if she has experienced persistent fibroids.  The notion that birth control and/or abortion causes cancer has not been scientifically proven and is a falsehood (among many others) used by evangelical extremists in their desperation to end abortion and sex for pleasure.

          • drake

            I’m sorry but the facts are it does cause cancer. Why else has breast cancer since birth control and abortions became mainstream. Also autism for that matter. Maybe do an unbiased study of the science and history of this epidemic and you might understand.

  • Sarah

    Most of those “Catholic” women probably only go to Mass on Easter and Christmas. Why don’t you poll the attendees of a regular Sunday Mass? I bet your “statistics” would be a lot different then.

    • Pat4forty

       That’s a hugely important point. Most of the Catholics who attend Mass less than once a week (who, in other words are not ‘active’ Catholics) have no allegiance to the Church and many have out-rightly rejected it. Also the fact that a Catholic woman uses contraception does not mean she wants her employer or her church to pay for it.  I would guess that the perentage of active Catholic women who use contraceptives and expect their church (if they are employed by the church) to pay for it is quite small.

  • Correction

    “Only women that were sexually active in the past 3 months were included in the poll, effectively taking out all women who follow the Catholic belief of preserving their virginity for marriage.”This isn’t quite right, as the poll did include married women who abstained before marriage. So there are many married women who practiced abstinence before marriage, and then took contraception once they got married and starting having sex. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/DeannaMarieCandler Deanna Marie Candler

      They didn’t poll anyone who was not having sex, this rules out all unmarried Catholic women who are remaining abstinent. The poll asked nothing in regards to behavior before marriage. 

      • Guest

        It wouldn’t make sense to include them in the poll because they are not having sex and therefore cannot get pregnant. 

        The population of women who practice abstinence before marriage is represented among the married women. Unless you think that there is a disproportionate number of women who choose to remain abstinent before marriage, never marry (and therefore never have sex), then the poll is not skewed in this way. 

        Of course, even if so I don’t think it would really change the power of the statistic if it was qualified to say 98% of Catholic women who have sex use contraception. 

        You seemed to imply that the poll was biased because it excluded a category of devout women who follow the Church’s teaching on abstinence (and presumably would also follow the Church’s teaching on contraception).  

        This is simply not the case–the population is represented in the poll by the married women (unless you think the poll figured out some way to categorically exclude married women who practiced abstinence before marriage).  

  • MoonChild02

    Actually, according to the Washington Post, who did a fact checking investigation on the study, the reason that the study is so faulty is because 100% of the women polled were those using some form of birth control. The 2% that were not in the results were those who used Natural Family Planning instead of artificial birth control. In other words, the study didn’t include women who were sexually active but not using birth control, don’t believe in using birth control, have no use for birth control, or aren’t even sexually active. Since 100% of the women in the study were using birth control, that automatically makes the presumption that “98% of Catholic women use birth control” patently false. The real results aren’t 98% of Catholic women use birth control, but 98% of Catholic women using birth control use birth control, which is possibly the most deceiving piece of trash propaganda I’ve ever heard of. Having the President quoting it just makes it that much worse.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/the-claim-that-98-percent-of-catholic-women-use-contraception-a-media-foul/2012/02/16/gIQAkPeqIR_blog.html

    http://www.catholicvote.org/discuss/index.php?p=26675

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/white-house-claim-that-98-of-catholic-women-use-contraception-a-damned-lie

  • Reality

    There is nothing wrong with this methodology.

    1. In order to have the choice of whether or not to use birth control, a person must be sexually active.  Asking those that abstain from sex whether or not they use birth control would actually skew the statistic.  It’s like asking vegetarians what their favorite meat is.  Asking only the women who are sexually active whether or not they choose to engage in contraception makes perfectly logical sense, as those are the only women CAPABLE of making that choice.

    2. As mentioned previously, women who are pregnant or nursing would very much choose to not take birth control, because doing so could very much harm the baby.  The reasoning for that choice has nothing to do with religious practices, but basic medicine- atheists, Buddhists, Muslims, and other Christians would make the same choice to abandon contraception- because that is the STRONG medical demand for the sake of the baby.  Because this poll is trying to target women who are making a choice to abandon contraception for their religious practices, excluding these women once again helps narrow the field to only looking at women who are engaging sexually and have a free choice to abandon contraception purely on religious grounds. 

    To include either group in this poll would skew the data, as it is no longer a fair representation of the target group- women who are choosing contraception for the sake of their religious beliefs.  Including group 1 is nonsensical, as they cannot choose to use or not use contraception, and including group 2 is nonsensical, because that choice is being made for the sake of a healthy baby, not religious practices. 

    You may have “taken a class,” but so have I, and your understanding of how to analyze poll data could really use some work. 

    • drake

      The fact that he said 98% of catholic women and not sexually active catholic women makes this article true. If it was worded differently then you would be right but also he would lose his point that most use it

      • Reality

        This article did not state that Obama’s description of the study was wrong, it claimed the study that was actually performed was wrong.  It’s that claim I’m discussing.  I could agree that Obama’s description of the study was not entirely accurate, but this article did not take that route- it tried to say the whole study was done incorrectly.  

        And frankly, for all intent and purposes, although his description of the study is not entirely accurate, it still makes his point.  Only 2% of Catholic women engaging in sex do not use contraception for religious purposes.  The overall message remains intact.

        • drake

          Correct it does say say the study was done wrong because it was done to distort information. Obama said 98% of Catholic women not 98% of catholic women who are sexually active. You can word something slightly different and make it mean something completely different.