|Doesn't have much to do with the post, but hey, it's funny.|
One of the Obama administration's justifications for the HHS' contraception mandate is that “Contraception is used by most women: According to a study by the Guttmacher Institute [affiliated with Planned Parenthood - hardly an unbiased source!] most women, including 98 percent of Catholic women, have used contraception.”
First off, this argument is completely irrelevant, as the U.S. Bishops point out:
If a survey found that 98% of people had lied, cheated on their taxes, or had sex outside of marriage, would the government claim it can force everyone to do so?
Fr. Andrew over at Shameless Popery also discusses why this justification is both specious and dangerous:
By appealing to the behavior (not belief) of a particular religious group, the Administration (and others) are trying to indict the validity of an actual well-formed Catholic conscience. The claim might as well be: No one really holds that religious view so why should we respect it? This is how a government begins to form a litmus test for who's conscientious objection is worth respecting. We must all be extra careful to not muddy the "conscience" pool further.
However, going back to Guttmacher's "research," their number is quite skewed and dishonest.
You know how I know this?
It's because I am the 98%.
Note that the claim is that "most women, including 98 percent of Catholic women, have used contraception" (emphasis mine).
Those two words are the key to the deception. The statistic is not "98% of Catholic women are in favor of contraception." Nor is it "98% of Catholic women are currently using contraception to prevent pregnancy." It is "98% of Catholic women have used contraception."
That is ME. I used hormonal contraception from approximately June 2001 to February 2003. At the time, I was a practicing Lutheran, not a Catholic. In May 2003, my husband and I converted to Catholicism, and I had already thrown my pills away and started using NFP by that point.
But if a researcher came up to me on the street or called me on the phone and asked, first, "Are you Catholic?" and second, "Have you ever, at any point in your life, used contraception?" my answer to both would be, "Yes."
But is that an accurate reflection of my current views regarding contraception? Does my answer mean that I demand free and available contraception for my especial use? No.
That statistic also does not reflect any of the following facts:
(a) many Catholic women who have previously used contraception at some point in their lives no longer do so (or wish to do so);
(b) many women who self-identify as "Catholic" are not practicing Catholics;
(c) many women who self-identify as "Catholic" and who may attend Mass occasionally or even regularly do not believe the tenets of their own faith (i.e., they are Catholic for reasons of family pressure or family unity instead of a conviction of faith, and thus don't adhere to the tenets of Catholicism).
The CDC, when conducting research into how many Americans smoke tobacco, did not ask "Do you now or have you ever in your life smoked" without any regard as to if that person was currently smoking or had stopped smoking a decade ago. They had very strict criteria for who was considered a current smoker: "In 2010, an estimated 19.3% (45.3 million) of U.S. adults were current cigarette smokers; of these, 78.2% (35.4 million) smoked every day, and 21.8% (9.9 million) smoked some days."
The CDC does not consider someone who smoked for a period of two years nearly a decade ago to be a "current smoker," so why does the Obama administration consider me, someone who used contraception for two years nearly a decade ago, to be part of the 98% of Catholic women who are allegedly clamoring for this mandate? Or, in other words, why does the Obama administration think that every single Catholic woman who has ever used contraception is in favor of forcing Catholic institutions to pay for free contraception for everyone else?
It'd be like expecting members of Alcoholics Anonymous to be in favor of forcing Baptist churches to provide free liquor for everyone! After all, those members have had a drink -- and even drank consistently -- at some point in their lives. In that case, they MUST be in favor of free booze for everyone, right?
A better survey for women would ask the following questions:
(a) Do you fully believe in and practice all of the tenets of the Catholic Church?
(b) If the answer to (a) is yes, do you currently use a contraceptive method of birth control?
(c) If the answer to (b) is yes, why did you lie in (a)?
In the fictional survey above, both (a) and (b) can't be "yes" answers, folks. If a practicing Catholic woman fully believes in and practices all of the tenets of the Catholic Church, then she doesn't use contraception for the purpose of preventing pregnancy.
If she does use contraception and it's not for therapeutic reasons (i.e., it's not used primarily to treat a medical condition with the unintended side effect of being contraceptive, allowed under the principle of double effect), then she's not a practicing Catholic; she's a dissenting Catholic, or a non-practicing Catholic. She is a Catholic butt.
How does it make sense for the government to make laws that bind a religion to provide something -- free of charge, no less -- that only dissenters or non-practitioners of that religion demand? Not only is it nonsensical, it's unconstitutional.