Two statistics at the heart of the controversy over mandatory insurance coverage of contraception - that 99% of American women have used contraception, including 98% of Catholics - are getting fresh attention from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The topline findings in a Valentine’s Day release from CDC back both of those claims, but with important caveats that are sometimes blurred in the debate.
In the last five years, 99% of women of reproductive age who have ever had sexual intercourse with a man have used at least one contraceptive method at some point in their lifetimes, the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics finds.
But the CDC’s 99% figure is specifically about women who have had sexual intercourse, and that’s about 87% of the full sample of women aged 15 to 44 who were interviewed.
Overall, the percentage of all women aged between 15 and 44 years old who have used contraception is around 88%, including women have taken the pill to treat conditions such as acne. The percentage of women between 25 and 44 years old who have used contraception is 97.8%.
The study also found that 98.6% of Catholic women of reproductive age who have had sexual intercourse said they had used some sort of birth-control method. But the proportion using what CDC calls “any highly effective, reversible method” of contraception (in which the agency excludes natural family planning methods) was a little over 84%.
By Louise Radnofsky