The story was about the Obama administration's claim that 98 percent of Catholic women use contraception other than natural family planning.
Here's part of the Penigma takeaway (bold emphasis added):
I personally have always found the Guttmacher Institute to be an excellent research organization in the past, and have read other studies as well as this one. I'm not the only one who finds the Guttmacher Institute to be reliable. The politifact.com article noted that the Catholic Medical Association has found the source credible in earlier studies of the same question, and found a pretty consistent percentage of use of contraception among Roman Catholics over time.The highlighted portion is an inaccurate interpretation of the story. PolitiFact hides the truth a bit with a semantic/syntactical shell game (which I charitably take as an accident):
The study, "Countering Conventional Wisdom: New Evidence on Religion and Contraceptive Use," is based on government data collected in the National Survey of Family Growth.The first paragraph starts by referring to the Guttmacher material as "the study." And it ends by referring to the source of the information: The National Survey of Family Growth.
The survey has been conducted seven times since 1973 by the National Center for Health Statistics, with the most recent cycle in 2006-10. The survey includes women ages 15 to 44. Researchers conduct personal interviews to gather information on marriage, divorce, contraception, infertility and health of women and infants.
The source is regularly used for studies on contraceptives and religion, including one we found published by the Catholic Medical Association. (The 2001 article found the high rate of contraceptive use by Catholic women "not new or surprising.")
In the second paragraph "the survey" is the topic, not "the study." Skimming the story will certainly leave the impression that it's talking about the Guttmacher Institute throughout.
I remember sharing the initial impression that PolitiFact was saying the CMA relied on Guttmacher Institute data. But that simply isn't the case. The Penigma post links to the CMA Web page that refers to the survey, which in turn has a link to a .pdf of the CMA journal article:
The National Center for Health Statistics periodically conducts surveys to collect nationally representative data on factors related to childbearing, including data on contraception, sterilization and infertility. These surveys are known as the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG). The primary sources of data for this article are the 1988 and 1995 rounds of the NSFG.I notified the Penigma folks of the error:
I'm pretty sure you'll find that the CMA was looking at the government source that the Guttmacher people used as the foundation for their study.That was on Feb. 15, and I received a response not long after that made it appear that the author wasn't particularly concerned.
The confusion is understandable in light of the sentence construction PolitiFact used. Revisit it and you'll see that it refers to the CDC (government) survey.
Gotta watch out for PolitiFact. ;-)
Must be part of the "reality-based" community? This type of thing bewilders me.
Fix it, Penigma! And feel free to drop me a line when the deed is done. I'll cheerfully update this item to offer due credit.