Life and Learning XVII
The CDC has conducted the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) every three to seven years between 1973 and 2002 to describe contraceptive use among women in the U.S. The data from these surveys are available to researchers to examine trends in contraceptive use and sexual behaviors. The purpose of this study was to examine data from the 2002 NSFG in order to determine the influence of religiosity on abortion and abortifacient contraceptive use, i.e., the use of the oral contraceptive pill (OC), the injected hormone Depoprovera (IC), the IUD, and hormonal emergency contraception (EC), among American women between the ages of 15-44. The NSFG is a population-based selection of 7,676 women. The 2002 data set contains variables on whether the woman had ever used abortion, the above methods of family planning, and variables on the importance of religion, church attendance, and attitudes on sexuality. We found (based on statistical odds ratios) that those women who viewed religion as very important attended church frequently (i.e., at least once a week) and held traditional attitudes on religion were less likely to have had an abortion in the past twelve months and less likely to use OCs, ICs, and ECs. There was no difference in the likelihood of ever having used IUDs. We concluded that religiosity has a suppressing effect on abortion and abortifacient contraceptive use.