Tell me, when did the media decide that contraception was controversial? When I did a search on Google News, I found that the words contraception and controversy occurred together more than 4,000 times, often in broadcast and print news accounts.
Contraception is not some bizarre practice that most Americans avoid. Yet, ideologues and the Catholic hierarchy have managed to brainwash reporters, most of whom I’ll wager practiced birth control at some point in their lives, and persuaded them to treat the term gingerly. Contraception used to be called family planning. That term better reflects the well-established concept that people have the right to determine how many children they can love, raise and financially support.
Most sexually experienced Catholic women of child-bearing age – an estimated 98 percent — have practiced contraception at some point in their lives. As a reporter colleague of mine once put it, “We’re Catholics, but we’re not idiots.” The statistics are pretty clear that most Catholics don’t see anything wrong with contraception. Only 15 percent find it morally wrong. Even among Catholics who attend weekly mass, two-thirds don’t find contraception objectionable. Count me among that group. Heck, I even sing in the choir at my church.
And as a few media outlets have tried to point out, federal regulations long on the books already had made the availability of birth control pills a requirement for most employers that provide health insurance. Many state laws had imposed similar requirements on Catholic institutions. Catholic institutions that fought these rules were often blocked by the courts.
But by and large journalists have done a terrible job of making the point that contraceptive use is the norm in this country, and that federal regulations and state laws have been quietly requiring that it be a part of employer-provided health insurance for years.