Illinois Right to Life Committee
Consumer Reports Condom Ratings Are Not Reliable
Consumer Reports condom ratings are not reliable
January 14, 2005
If you were told about a product that would fail 15% of the time over one year, would you consider that product reliable? I suspect not. If you were told that a new cars engine or transmission had a 100% failure rate over a five-year period, would you find that performance acceptable? I am certain that you would not.
The February 2005 issue of Consumer Reports does not rate automobiles, but they do rate condoms. Consumer Reports gives seven condom products excellent ratings on its test results with overall ratings of very good. They rate the vast majority of condoms tested as very good overall. However, their comparative guide to contraceptives included with these ratings shows that in typical use, the male condom fails 15 times per 100 users per year. Statistically, this becomes a 100% failure rate in less than five years.
What does typical use mean? For condoms, it is contrasted with a failure rate of only 2 per 100 if used perfectly. For a Depo-Provera injection, the failure rate is 3 per 100 in typical use, and for the birth control pill, the failure rate is 8 per 100 in typical use. These statistics seem to confirm that typical use must mean normal usage by average people.
Condoms are claimed to be important to prevent teen pregnancy. Can teenagers be considered typical users? That seems unlikely. If failure rates go even higher for less typical users, this means that a teenage girl who relies on condoms for protection has a 100% chance of getting pregnant at least once during 4 years of high school. Does that sound like safe sex?
No wonder Consumer Reports also provides information on abortion options. Clearly, people who rely on their ratings in choosing contraceptives will need abortions somewhere along the way. Consumer Reports claims a typical abortion is at least 12 times safer than childbirth. In fact, when a truly scientific study was done to compare the risks of abortion and childbirth, abortion was found to be at least four times more dangerous than childbirth (http://www.afterabortion.org/PAR/V8/n2/finland.html).
Of course, prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) has a higher failure rate than pregnancy. Some STDs can be transmitted even when a condom is used perfectly. How long will it take for teenagers to acquire one or more STDs? You know the answer. That is why STD rates have reached epidemic proportions, except among teens who practice abstinence.
Consumer Reports claims to be unbiased in their ratings. However, the biographical information available on James Guest, the CEO of Consumers Union, which publishes the magazine, shows that he previously headed Planned Parenthood of Maryland. Given the disconnect between condom "ratings" and results in typical use, the virtual endorsement of abortion as the birth control choice of last resort, and the inaccurate information that minimizes the health risks of contraceptives, it appears that the Planned Parenthood party line was very effectively conveyed in this Consumer Reports article. It seems safe to conclude that Consumers Union is not unbiased when it comes to condoms and other birth control methods.
This bias is further confirmed by the failure to accurately report on natural family planning by calling it "rhythm" and using the outdated reliability statistics from rhythm. You might want to express your concern to Consumer Reports about their misleading coverage of condoms and birth control, or even cancel your subscription in response to their bias.
Ironically, two out of three condoms distributed by Planned Parenthood received poor ratings with recommendations that they be avoided. Here is another deviation from typical use toward a higher failure rate. Who are the most likely users of Planned Parenthood condoms? With names like lollipop, honeydew, and assorted colors, who else, but teenagers? No wonder Planned Parenthood continues to commit more abortions each year, remaining unchallenged as the largest abortion provider in the nation.
Illinois Right to Life Committee
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