I have a thing for reading surveys, polls and studies... the original findings before the media filters them.... so I encourage you to go straight to the April 2011 report put out by the Guttmacher Institute - Countering Conventional Wisdom: New Evidence on Religion and Contraceptive Use. Thanks to the Minnesota Independent for bringing this to my attention!
The report describes details gleaned from "data from the 2006–2008 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG)." It shows women who consider themselves religious - whether Catholic, Mainline Protestant, Evangelical or Other - use contraceptives. I don't think many religious women read my blog - so it is kind of hard to shake them and ask them to find their voices and turn their backs on hypocrisy when it comes to using contraception.
The report shows that the more a woman or girl claimed to go to church, the less likely they would be to have ever been sexually active. But it also shows that 75% of NEVER MARRIED young women ages 20-24 who claim the label of Evangelical have been sexually active at some point.
Just for the record - I would have been in the minority there. I was not keen on the idea of hypocrisy - and believed the common Evangelical Fundamentalist claim that The Pill is a form of abortion. I didn't want kids. I abstained - hard-core - enough to put straight-edge punk rockers to shame. Pure-as-the-driven-snow was my middle name. (See Disclaimer at end of Post)
My theory on why Evangelicals are more likely to choose sterilization? Because they might be more likely to believe hormonal birth control like The Pill is a form of abortion. If you read the report you'll notice that not only do Evangelicals have the highest rate of sterilization, but also the lowest rate of hormonal birth control usage. As the report mentions, Evangelicals have no epicenter like Rome that tells them to procreate at all costs - so they may be less afraid to get their tubes tied and snipped. These women are choosing birth control. But they are also choosing abortions (not a part of this report).
If you have any questions on how badly some Christian women DON'T want to get pregnant the first time, or again and again and again... you really need to spend more time hanging out with the Quiverfull survivors at No Longer Quivering. Evangelical fundamentalist women love their children just like any other group - but the ones who have made it out of the more extreme versions are also vocal about the toll on their bodies, the toll on their souls, the toll on their minds. I don't think we'd have to dig far to find support for birth control/family planning options that allows these women to put a barrier between them and the biblical command to submit to their husbands.
As a product of a Quiver before Quivers were cool, I can assure you - if anything is a gift from the Goddess - contraceptives are.
The survey gave the women a choice of responding to the frequency of their church attendance: never, less than once a month, monthly, or weekly. They don't give the choice of two, three or more times per week... such as was the case of the likes of me. Thrice a week was totally normal church attendance.
How many of these women consider themselves fundamentalist? A fundamentalist vein runs through more than just Evangelicalism- but also Catholicism and even among Lutherans/Mainline Protestants. I don't spend enough time here clarifying religious jargon - and the semantics matter on words like Evangelical, Mainline Protestants, Catholics, Fundamentalists and Evangelical Fundamentalists - especially when interpreting surveys. It appears "fundamentalists", "born-again", "evangelical" responses were all included under Evangelical.
But that's all the time I have today... even going to skip the pretty pictures in hope that you instead head over to the Report, read it for yourself, and Pass It On!
*Disclaimer for Complainers: I am sex-positive in that I do not believe anyone should feel guilty about healthy, consensual sex whether married or unmarried. I never quite understood the shame piled on sex by religion and I do not condone shaming anyone for healthy, consensual sex - with or without marriage vows. One of the biggest things patriarchal religions have going for them is the Fear and Shame surrounding sex - especially Female Sexuality. People who can leave behind the idea of Male God-sanctioned sex are moving in the right direction - and more power to them!