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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I Am the 98 Percent

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.

19 comments:

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And again, thank you.
    God bless,
    Laura

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  2. I'm the 98% too, according to their skewed and slanted polls. I was prescribed BCP for my irregular cycles long before I ever converted to the Catholic Church. I certainly haven't used any contraceptives since I became Catholic. But according to the way they ask the questions...

    And, to follow their logic, since "everyone" speeds, we should get rid of all traffic laws too, right? And since "everyone" does drugs, we should make them all legal--especially since Pres. Clinton did pot and Pres. Obama did cocaine and who knows what else? Because obviously if "everyone" is doing it, that makes it ok, right?

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  3. I am also one of the 98%. And now I fully support the Catholic Church teaching, and reject contraception. I love this post!

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  4. Occupy Mordor. LOL!!!!

    I love your survey. "Then why did you lie?" Perfect.

    I'm also the 98% and now know better, thank God. 4 years of pumping myself full of poison for "medical reasons" is quite enough for me.

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  5. I am in that statistic also. I used "the Pill" before I got married for 6 years. I was misinformed about "The Pill's" side effects or what it was actually doing. I took it for medical reasons and was not sexually active before I was married. A year before I got married I stopped using "The Pill" switched to NFP and informed myself of the repercussions of my young misinformed actions. Do I think that we should offer Free birth control? No way. Do I think it will cause more misinformation regarding birth control, certainly. Are most gynecologist misrepresenting "the Pill" and other such methods of contraception. Hell yes. How do I know this? I went through 4 different gynecologist before finding one who was not ready to force birth control on me as I walked through the door. If they are willing to give carcinogens to 13 year olds without parental consent why would we think that they wouldn't try to convince a married woman to use it under the disguise of Medical use. I have a moral obligation to say no. So do religious organizations who also find it morally despicable. Sorry but I'll go to jail before I am forced to expose my body or anyone else's body to this abuse again.

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  6. I ditto exactly what Leila said.

    Excellent (as always) JoAnna! I'm going to link this on my blog.

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  7. I am the 98% as well, and those words - "have used" -jumped out at me right away because of this. I would have had to answer yes. There are so many of us like that!

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  8. My wife used contraception when we were Protestants. We actually started using NFP for moral reasons before I would ever have dreamed of becomming Catholic (which we are now thank God). She is the 98%. I would love to see a study like this for drunkeness or illegal drug use.
    The reasoning would go like this: "98% of Catholics have been drunk at some time in their life even though drunkeness is a sin in the eyes of their CHurch, so therefore we can force them to pay for the booze of people who want to get drunk."

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  9. great stats for future debates!! thanks!!

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  10. I am so sick of the media using this statistic. I am the 98%!

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  11. LOL...I am the 98% also. It is nice to read your post.

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  12. You know what? There is now a facebook fan page called "I am the 2%"...I "liked" it. :)

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  13. Oh yeah and I, too am the 98%. I have ALWAYS questioned the stats given from surveys like that.

    I always said I was Catholic even when I had fallen away. I never knew I was dissenting until I was older. Very flawed "survey"

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  14. I was going to comment on this post when I first read it, but I kept scrolling down. I started to comment on the post below, but something caught my eye and I kept scrolling down. As I read post after post I found myself nodding in agreement and wishing "so-and-so" would read it too. "So-and-so" does read my blog and I have tried to address at least part of the objections and misunderstandings she sends my way. How I wish I could write as well as you. God bless you for using your wonderful talent to speak truth.

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  15. Hi JoAnna, I'm your newest follower....I just wanted to say; "Very well written!!" It gives me hope! Thanks for your witness!

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  16. "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?"

    To be fair, the government is not forcing anyone to USE contraceptives. The distinction is an important one, even if the real situation is still not acceptable.

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  17. Actually, Micah, according to Catholic teaching, facilitating a sin is no different than committing the sin itself. So the distinction, in this case, is meaningless.

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  18. I WAS the 98% in my senior year of HS. I have always been Catholic but was put on it by my Dr. for about a year for strong, irregular periods. My husband and I have never used birth control and we have 7 beautiful children. I totally agree with your post and thank you for speaking your mind!!!

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