Poll: Most favor contraceptive mandate

Most Americans say employers should not be excused from providing contraceptive coverage for female employees because of their religious views.

By Bob Allen

Nearly two out of three American adults believe businesses and organizations should be required to provide contraceptive coverage in their employee health-care plans, even if it violates the employer’s religious beliefs, according to a recent survey by LifeWay Research.

The research arm of the Southern Baptist Convention publisher said 63 percent of 1,191 adult Americans polled Nov. 14-16 agreed with the portion of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, requiring coverage for all FDA-approved birth-control methods. That includes emergency or “morning after” pills that some people argue permit fertilization but prevent pregnancy by causing a spontaneous abortion. Twenty-eight percent disagreed and 10 percent selected “Don’t Know.”

ed stetzerEd Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, said researchers did not use the term “abortifacient” in their questions, because even in high-profile cases focusing only on those drugs the issue is widely reported in news media as a contraception issue, and most Americans don’t believe religious organizations should be allowed to opt out.

A majority of those surveyed (53 percent) said Catholic schools, hospitals and charities should be required to provide the coverage, even though it conflicts with religious teachings of the Catholic Church.

The survey found women more likely than men to “Strongly Agree” that all three organizational categories: businesses (48 percent vs. 37 percent); nonprofits (37 percent vs. 29 percent); Catholic and religious schools, hospitals and charities (36 percent vs. 26 percent) should provide the coverage.

Younger Americans were the least likely (less than 10 percent) to “Strongly Disagree” with businesses and organizations being required to follow the mandate.

“The religious freedom that the United States pioneered is not a freedom of belief, but a freedom to practice that faith,” said Stetzer. “The American public appears unaware or unconcerned that some religious organizations and family businesses indicate fear of losing the freedom to practice their faith under the new health-care regulations.”