Religion, Religiosity, and Contraceptive Method Choice

Layton Field, Texas A&M University

Until recent history, religious doctrine was crucial in encouraging large families and thereby dissuading members from contraceptive use. However, in the wake of the overpopulation discourse brought about by the work of Thomas Malthus and declines in desired fertility, many religious believers found themselves in a difficult situation. This paper addresses the tension between religious belief and contraceptive method choice in an effort to determine if religious affiliation or religiosity impact method selection. Using data from the National Survey of Family Growth, this analysis finds support in favor of religious affiliation and some aspects of religiosity as determinants of contraceptive method choice. The implications of religious motivators for particular contraceptive methods in the era of sustained low fertility are also discussed.

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Presented in Poster Session 7: Family Planning, Sexual Behavior, and Reproductive Health