Contraception: the religious divide

I can remember when opposition to artificial birth control was one of the bright-line differences between American Catholics and Protestants, and consequently good Catholics were known for their large families.

Evidently all this has changed. Survey data indicates that the main opposition to contraception in the United States comes from white evangelical Protestants.  (It would be interesting to know the survey data for black evangelical Protestants.)

Roman Catholic bishops object to health insurance coverage for contraception in Catholic hospitals, universities and charities, even when they serve both Catholics and non-Catholics and employ both Catholics and non-Catholics.  But it would appear their ruling is more in line with the sentiments of white evangelicals than it is for members of their own flocks.

I think woman have a moral right to choose whether to become pregnant or not, and children have a right to parents who want them and are able to care for them.  Teenage pregnancy and abortion rates are at 40-year lows because, in my opinion, of widespread knowledge and use of contraception.  This is a good thing, not a bad thing.  If you’re really concerned about the number of illegitimate children in the United States, you shouldn’t be trying to deny woman access to contraception.

Contraceptive use among American women who have had sex, 2006-2008.                          Source: Guttmacher Institute

Click on Women Who Use Birth Control Are the 99 Percent for more charts from Mother Jones.

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