Artificial Contraception: False Panacea

Author: A.L.L.


American Life League

There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

                                                                         The universal TANSTAAFL principle.

Anti-Life Philosophy.

It is apparent that nothing short of contraceptives can put an end to the horrors of abortion and infanticide.

                                                                                                  Margaret Sanger.[1]

We pro-choice people do agree with the anti-choicers on one point: There are entirely too many abortions in the United States. The answer to this problem is as simple as it is obvious.

What our society needs in order to eliminate or drastically reduce abortions and unwanted pregnancies is universal and easy access to a wide variety of cheap and safe birth control methods.


Just as there ain't no free lunch, there ain't no such thing as a 'perfect' birth control method, except for three specialized instances: Total abstinence, homosexuality, and castration (not sterilization).

Even abortion and sterilization don't always work! Every method of birth control has its advantages and its costs.

This chapter describes the rates of contraception usage and the effectiveness of each method for American women, and shows how heavy reliance on contraception has led to more, not less unwanted pregnancies and abortions.


The Importance of Terminology.

The terminology associated with contraception effectiveness/failure rates can be confusing. The misuse of these terms may lead to neglect on the part of the user and abuses by providers. In order to discuss contraceptive effectiveness intelligently, four important effectiveness rates must be defined, as shown below.

Method Effectiveness Rate —the rate at which a contraceptive method would prevent pregnancy if used as directed (i.e., perfectly).

Actual Effectiveness Rate —also known as the "user effectiveness rate," this parameter takes into account user errors and therefore is the "real world" indication of how effective a contraceptive method really is. The actual effectiveness rate is always equal to or lower than the method effectiveness rate.

Dr. Christopher Tietze of Planned Parenthood defines the user effectiveness rate as the method's "Performance under real life conditions, including any accidental pregnancies during regular or irregular use of the method under study by excluding pregnancies following discontinuation of contraception or adoption of another method."[2]

Some methods, such as sterilization and the IUD, preclude user error, and so their method and actual effectiveness rates are identical. Other methods, such as 'traditional' rhythm and withdrawal, are fundamentally inefficient and flawed methods of contraception. Even if the user follows directions perfectly, the method is still relatively ineffective. Therefore, the differences between their method and actual effectiveness rates cannot be accurately measured, and are assumed to be equal.

Contraceptive Failure Rate — the percentage of women who become pregnant while using one method of contraception exclusively for one year and engaging in 100 acts of normal sexual intercourse. This definition includes both method failure (such as physical condom breakage during normal use) and failure of the user to employ the method properly.

Contraceptive Effectiveness Rate — the percentage of women who do not become pregnant while using one method of contraception for one year. The contraceptive failure rate and effectiveness rate are add up to one. Example: if condoms have a failure rate of 10.8% annually, they have an effectiveness rate of (100.0% - 10.8%), or 89.2% annually.

"Contraceptive effectiveness rate" and "actual effectiveness rate" are equivalent terms.

Contraceptive Failures by the Million.

The success of the national family planning program is stunning ... because of increased and more consistent use of contraception, the pregnancy rate among sexually-active teenagers has been declining.

Faye Wattleton, former President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.[3]

The Ultimate Bill of Goods.

American women have been hoodwinked into thinking that modern contraceptive drugs and devices are virtually foolproof. This myth is perpetrated by Planned Parenthood, the Sex Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), health clinics at every level, abortion clinics, school-based clinics and sex educators, and by lazy doctors who shove birth control pills at women, telling them that they are the easiest way to go.

So it is a profound shock to about two million women every year when they become pregnant despite contraceptive use. Women who become pregnant while using contraceptives tend to equate the unborn child with a "contraceptive failure," and the general impulse (in no way discouraged by the pill pushers) is to rectify the failure by taking advantage of that great social eraser abortion.

This is why the pro-abortion movement wants to get every woman on contraception for its own self-perpetuation.

The contraception-abortion cycle is as predictable as it is inevitable;


\                                  /
\                            /
\                    /
(repeat cycle endlessly until
common sense finally prevails).

Contraception Failure Rates.

Despite a general impression that all American women are on the Pill, only about one-third of fertile women in the United States use any kind of contraception, as shown below. Figure 99-1 summarizes this use in more detail.


Naturally or artificially
   sterile women:                             14,715,000       (27.2%)
Fertile but not sexually
   active:                                         10,549,000       (19.5%)
Sexually active, contra-
   ception nonusers:                           8,981,000       (16.6%)
Sexually active, contra-
   ception users:                               19,854,000       (36.7%)
Total women of child-
   bearing age in 1990:                     54,099,000     (100.0%)

Reference: United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. Reference Book and Guide to Sources, Statistical Abstract of the United States. 1990 (110th Edition). Table 99, "Contraceptive Use By Women, 15-44 Years Old, By Age, Race, Marital Status, and Method of Contraception: 1982."


[A medium text size on your computer's 'view' setting is recommended, otherwise, the tables may be discombobulated.]

                         Age of Women              Total,              Marital Status
                    15-24     25-34     35-44      15-44                   Formerly
                    Years    Years     Years      Years     Single   Married    Married

Thousands of Women
                  20,150    19,644    14,305    54,099     19,164      28,231      6,704

                    3.5%     27.9%     60.1%     27.2%       3.2%       40.9%      38.0%

                  39.1%       7.8%       7.8%     19.5%      49.6%        0.2%      15.1%

The "Pill"    23.5%     17.1%       2.3%     15.6%      18.7%      13.4%      15.8%
IUD             1.4%       6.5%       4.2%       4.0%        1.9%        4.8%        6.4%
Diaphragm   3.7%       6.8%       2.4%       4.5%        4.7%        4.5%        3.7%
Condom       5.5%       7.6%      7.0%       6.7%        4.1%        9.8%        0.8%
Foam           0.8%       1.5%       1.8%       1.3%        0.4%        2.0%        1.1%
NFP            1.2%       2.8%       2.6%       2.2%        0.9%        3.2%        1.4%
Other           2.3%       2.9%       2.2%       2.5%        2.6%        2.3%        2.7%
TOTALS  38.4%    45.2%    22.6%    36.7%      33.3%      40.1%     31.8%

Pregnant, Postpartum, or Seeking Pregnancy
                    9.8%    12.7%        3.5%       9.2%        3.7%     13.9%         4.7%
Sexually Active
                   9.2%       6.5%        6.0%       7.4%      10.1%       4.8%       10.4%
              100.0%   100.0%   100.0%  1 00.0%   100.0%  100.0%     100.0%

Reference: Bureau of the Census, United States Department of Commerce. National Data Book and Guide to Sources, Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1990 (110th Edition). Table 99, "Contraceptive Use By Women, 15-44 Years Old, By Age, Race, Marital Status, and Method of Contraception: 1982."

Figures 99-2 and 99-3 respectively show the actual ('real world') effectiveness rates of contraceptives in tabular and graphical form. These rates have been confirmed several times by Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) studies. The AGI is the research arm of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), and therefore the results of its statistics should be immune from attack by pro-aborts, since they come from a pro-abortion source.


                          Method   (User)
                          Failure    Failure            Probability of Pregnancy in;
Contraceptive   Rate        Rate     2 Years     3 Years     5 Years     10 Years

                        For Fertile Women Aged 15 to 44 Years
Sterilization           1.3%       1.3%          3%            4%             6%           12%
The Pill                 1.8%       5.0%        10%          14%           23%           40%
IUD                      5.4%      5.4%        11%          15%           24%           43%
NFP (STM)          2.0%      5.5%        11%          15%           24%           43%
'Female Condom'  2.8%       9.2%       18%          25%           38%           62%
Condoms              4.5%     10.8%       20%          29%           44%           68%
Withdrawal         15.4%     15.4%       28%           39%          57%           81%
Spermicides        10.0%     19.4%       35%          48%           66%           88%
'Rhythm'              23.0%    23.0%        41%          54%           73%           93%
Diaphragm          14.0%     23.3%       41%          55%           74%           93%
No Method        44.7%     44.7%         69%         83%           95%         100%

                          For Fertile Women Aged 15 to 24 Years
Sterilization           1.7%       1.7%         3%            5%              8%           16%
NFP (STM)         2.7%       7.5%        14%         21%            32%           54%
IUD                    10.5%     10.5%       20%          28%           42%           67%
The Pill                 3.8%     11.0%       21%          30%            44%           69%
Condoms             4.5%     18.4%        33%          46%           64%           87%
Withdrawal         21.1%     21.1%       38%          51%           61%           91%
Diaphragm         19.0%      31.6%       53%          68%           85%           98%
'Rhythm'             33.9%     33.9%       56%          71%            87%           99%
Spermicides       18.0%      34.0%       56%          71%           87%           99%
No Method        62.9%     62.9%        86%         95%          100%         100%

Reference: William R. Grady, Mark D. Hayward, and Junichi Yagi. "Contraceptive Failure in the United States: Estimates for the 1982 National Survey of Family Growth." Alan Guttmacher Institute's Family Planning Perspectives, September/October 1986, page 204.


                                Annual Effectiveness 
Method                           in Percent

Sterilization                          98.7%
Low Dosage Pill                  95.0%
Intrauterine Device               94.6%
Natural Family Planning        94.5% 
Female Condom                  90.8%
Condom                              89.2%
Withdrawal                          84.6%
Spermicides                         80.6%
Rhythm                                77.0%

Reference: William R. Grady, Mark D. Hayward, and Junichi Yagi. "Contraceptive Failure in the United States: Estimates for the 1982 National Survey of Family Growth." Alan Guttmacher Institute's Family Planning Perspectives, Alan Guttmacher Institute, September/October 1986, page 204.

These figures are startling. It must be stressed that contraceptive methods for younger women (particularly teenagers) are disastrously ineffective. In fact, all methods are less effective for teenagers from both the method effectiveness standpoint (due to, among other things, rapid changes in the menstrual cycle) and the user effectiveness standpoint (due to much less careful use).

Experienced researchers have compared reducing the teen pregnancy rate by making contraceptives freely available to chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

The Report of the House Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families concluded that reducing the teen pregnancy rate in this manner is not only morally impossible, it is statistically impossible; "The contraceptive failure rate for teens who always use contraceptives is about 10% (Zelnik and Kantner, 1976 and 1979). Therefore, hypothetically, if sexual activity among teens reached 100% and the constant use of contraceptives 100%, we would still have a pregnancy rate of about 10%."[4]

This conclusion was buttressed by none other than the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which is the nation's foremost research institution regarding sexual practices.

In 1987, the AGI performed a survey of nearly 10,000 teenaged girls, and found that the annual contraceptive user failure rates for teenagers are as shown below.


Birth control pill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 percent
Condoms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 percent
Diaphragm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 percent
Spermicides . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 percent
Other methods (i.e., withdrawal) . . . . .38 percent

Reference. Robert A. Hatcher. Contraceptive Technology, 1986-1987 (13th Revised Edition). New York: Irvington Publishers, 1986, page 139. Also see Kim Painter. "'Disturbing' Data on Birth Control Failure." USA Today, July 13, 1989, page 1D.

This means that, if a girl begins using contraception on her 15th birthday, the probability of her unintentionally becoming pregnant by the time she is 20 are as follows;


Birth control pill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 percent
Condoms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53 percent
Diaphragm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 percent
Spermicides . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 percent
Other methods (i.e., withdrawal) . . . . .91 percent

Contraceptive failure is the primary reason we have a million pregnancies among teenaged girls every year. Contraceptives are designed to function in the body of a woman whose cycles have been stable for a number of years; they are extremely ineffective in a girl whose cycles have just begun and are still erratic or irregular.

And so, the endless cycle of fornication, life and death continues. Planned Parenthood and the 'sexperts' tell our daughters that it is all right to fornicate, as long as they use contraceptives provided by the same people. And when these contraceptives fail, as they commonly do, the girls are pressured to abort by the same experts. After all, who is less equipped to raise a child than a teenaged girl who is still in high school?

And then the 'sexperts' wonder why more contraceptives lead to more abortions.

This is the linchpin of the practical pro-life argument against teenagers fornicating and being put on contraception. Teenagers tend to think that they are virtually invulnerable, and this attitude translates into the idea that "It can't happen to me." Unfortunately, it does teenagers suffer nearly a million unplanned pregnancies each year, and many of these teens were using contraception!

Tragic Scenario.

These numbers are not surprising, in view of the typical scenario involving a sexually active teenaged girl. This 'typical' girl (or boy, for that matter) is influenced by four major factors;

(1) peer pressure;

(2) the totally amoral instruction given by all agencies in the school system and supported by local governmental entities;

(3) easy access to contraceptives (usually paid for by taxpayers); and

(4) a legal policy of total privacy and enforced parental noninvolvement.

The girl visits her handy school-based clinic or local Planned Parenthood office and is handed a packet of pills her ticket to free sex with anyone she pleases. She is usually about 15 years old.

What the counselors don't tell her is that the Pill is not totally effective when administered to a young girl whose body is still in the midst of sexual maturation.

Figure 99-3 shows that the low-dose birth control pill has an effectiveness rate of 89.0 percent for women aged 15 to 24. This sounds pretty good until one realizes that the girl has an 11% chance of getting pregnant in her first year of pill usage! This chance increases with every passing year, as shown below;


One year of pill use: . . . . . . . . . . 11 percent
Two years of pill use: . . . . . . . . . 21 percent
Three years of pill use: . . . . . . . . 30 percent
Five years of pill use: . . . . . . . . . .44 percent
Ten years of pill use: . . . . . . . . . .69 percent!

Reference: Alan Guttmacher Institute. Family Planning Perspectives, September/October 1986, Table 5, and January/February, 1984, pages 6 to 13.

In other words, a girl on the pill has better than a two-thirds chance of getting pregnant between the time she gets on the Pill at age 15 and a couple of years past her college graduation. This statistic is even backed up by the pro-abortionists. Planned Parenthood biostatistician Dr. Christopher Tietze said that "Within 10 years, 20 to 50 percent of pill users and a substantial majority of users of other methods may be expected to experience at least one repeat abortion."[5]

Note that Tietze is speaking about repeat (second or later) abortions here.

As shown above, Alan Guttmacher Institute studies conclude that a fourteen-year-old girl faithfully using the pill has a 44% chance of getting pregnant at least once before she finishes high school. She has a 69% chance of getting pregnant at least once before she finishes college. She also has a 30% chance of getting pregnant two or more times.

If her 'partner(s)' use condoms, the likelihood of unwanted pregnancy while she is in school rises to 87%.[6]

These are the young women that sidewalk counselors see in droves, trooping into the abortion mills with bemused expressions on their faces and saying "My birth control failed!"

Figure 99-4 combines the information given in Figures 99-2 and 99-3 to arrive at the total number of contraceptive failures in the United States each year. More than a million women aged 15 to 24 have contraceptive failures every year, and nearly a million women aged 25 to 44 have such failures. This amounts to a total of slightly more than two million unintended pregnancies by contraception users every year in this country.


Contraceptive Failures for Women Aged 15 to 24 Years

Contraceptive                                    Failure             Contraceptive
    Method         Total Users [1]        Rate [2]                Failures

The "Pill"               4,735,000         X     11.0%        =        521,000
Diaphragm               746,000         X      31.6%       =        236,000
Condom               1,108,000         X      18.4%        =       204,000
Withdrawal              463,000         X     21.1%        =          98,000
Spermicides             161,000         X     34.0%        =          55,000
IUD                         282,000         X     10.5%        =          30,000
NFP                        242,000         X       7.5%        =          18,000
TOTALS             7,737,000         X     15.0%       =     1,162,000

Contraceptive Failures for Women Aged 25 to 44 Years

Contraceptive                                    Failure             Contraceptive
    Method         Total Users [1]        Rate [2]                Failures

Diaphragm            1,679,000         X      16.8%        =       282,000
Condom               2,494,000         X        6.8%        =       170,000
Withdrawal              884,000         X      12.8%        =       113,000
The "Pill"               3,688,000         X       3.0%         =       111,000
IUD                      1,878,000         X       3.8%         =         71,000
Spermicides             552,000         X     11.7%         =         65,000
NFP                        922,000         X       3.5%         =         32,000
TOTALS           12,097,000         X      7.0%         =       844,000


                             1,162,000      +     844,000      =       2,006,000

[1] From Figure 99-1.
[2] From Figure 99-2.

This is in line with Alan Guttmacher Institute figures that show that half of all abortion patients in 1987 were practicing contraception during the month in which they conceived, and a substantial proportion of those who were not doing so had stopped using a method only a few months before becoming pregnant.[7] The majority of abortion patients who had stopped using a method prior to becoming pregnant said they had most recently used the pill.[8]

References: Contraceptive Effectiveness.

[1] Margaret Sanger. Woman and the New Race, 1920. Bretano's, Inc., sixth printing in 1923 by Eugenics Publishing Company, New York. Page 25.

[2] Christopher Tietze and Stanley Lewit. "Statistical Evaluation of Contraceptive Methods." Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, 17:121-138 (1974).

[3] Faye Wattleton, former President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education, March 16, 1981, transcript page 2.

[4] Report of the House Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families. "Teen Pregnancy: What is Being Done? A State-By-State Look." Washington, D.C. U.S. Government Printing Office, December 1985, pages 378 and 385.

[5] Dr. Christopher Tietze, quoted in the National Abortion Rights Action League's A Speaker's and Debater's Guidebook. June 1978, page 24.

[6] Alan Guttmacher Institute. Family Planning Perspectives, September/October 1986, Table 5, and January/February, 1984, pages 6 to 13.

[7] "Human Life International Scores Turner's Broadcasting of Pro-Abortion Film." The Wanderer, August 10, 1989, page 9.

[8] "The Characteristics Of, and Prior Contraceptive Use of U.S. Abortion Patients." Alan Guttmacher Institute, Family Planning Perspectives, July/August 1988, page 158. As described in "Pro-Abortion Forces Concede Contraceptive Failure." Life in Oregon (newsletter of Oregon Right to Life), May 1989, page 6.

Further Reading: Contraceptive Effectiveness.

Information on the effectiveness of the newer methods of natural family planning (not "rhythm") is available from the

Couple to Couple League
Post Office Box 111084
Cincinnati, Ohio 45211.

American Life League. "The Birth Control Game: Gambling with Life." 
Order from American Life League, Post Office Box 1350, Stafford, Virginia 22554. How IUDs and the birth control pills work by killing new human life.

Bernadell Technical Bulletin. 
An excellent bibliography of more than 150 sources on the effects of abortion and contraception (including abortifacient birth control pills and IUDs) on fertility may be found in the November 1990 issue of the Bernadell Technical Bulletin, pages 7 to 9. Order the Bulletin from 

Post Office Box 1897
New York, New York 10113-0950.

J.C. Espinoza, M.D. Birth Control: Why Are They Lying to Women?
Paperback. Order from: 

Life Issues Bookshelf
Sun Life
Thaxton, Virginia 24174
Telephone: (703) 586-4898

or from 

Our Lady's Book Service
Nazareth Homestead, R.D. 1
Box 258
Constable, New York 12926
Telephone: 1-800-263-8160. 

Reviewed by Eugene F. Diamond, M.D., on page 32 of the February 1983 ALL About Issues. The eugenicists, the birth-control profitmakers, and the Neomalthusians have concocted an effective and pervasive propaganda campaign against population. This propaganda is filled with lies, half-truths, and distortions. Dr. Espinoza's book exposes the health hazards of artificial contraception and shows that safe and effective natural family planning is really the only way to go from a practical standpoint. Also available in Spanish as El Control De La Natalidad: Porque Les Mienten A Las Mujeres?

Ellen Grant, M.D. The Bitter Pill: How Safe Is the 'Perfect Contraceptive?
London: Elm Tree Books, 1985. 7.95 pounds, 184 pages.

Roy O. Greep, Marjorie A. Koblinsky, and Frederick S. Jaffe. Reproduction and Human Welfare: A Review of the Reproductive Sciences and Contraceptive Development
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1976, 620 pages. The Ford Foundation sponsored three pro-abortion authors in the writing of this lengthy book, which covers a lot of ground: The uses and limits of contraceptive technology, the reproductive system, new contraceptive technologies, research and training of contraceptive providers, the financing of contraceptives, and a description of the moral and political climate in the United States. Appendixes include country and population control agency funding data.

The Physicians Desk Reference
(PDR), updated annually, contains a comprehensive inventory of virtually all drugs currently available in the United States, including birth control pills. The PDR includes photographs of the pills and detailed information on their chemical contents.

© American Life League BBS — 1-703-659-7111

This is a chapter of the Pro-Life Activist’s Encyclopedia published by American Life League.