Beliefs Politics

Poll: Most Americans say employers should cover contraception

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(RNS) Most Americans say that employers — even religious ones — should provide birth control coverage to their employees, according to a survey released on Monday (Dec. 3). 

Most Americans believe employers -- even religious ones -- should provide contraception coverage for their employees, according to a new survey by LifeWay Research.

Most Americans believe employers — even religious ones — should provide contraception coverage for their employees, according to a new survey by LifeWay Research.

The poll by LifeWay Research also showed that almost two-thirds of Americans (63 percent) believe businesses should be required to provide the coverage for free, even if contraception conflicts with the owner’s religious ethics.

As part of the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 health care reform law, President Obama issued regulations that require most employers, including some religious ones like Catholic colleges and hospitals, to provide birth control coverage. The administration has said it may expand the policy to accommodate additional religious organizations.

In the meantime, however, dozens of Catholic dioceses, as well as Christian colleges and business owners who oppose contraception on moral or religious grounds, have sued to block the mandate from taking effect.

Last Wednesday (Nov. 28), a federal appeals court in St. Louis sided with a Catholic business owner by issuing a temporary injunction temporarily halting the mandate. Federal judges in Michigan and Denver have also issued temporary injunctions blocking the mandate, according to Reuters. 

Most Americans, however, believe that businesses (63 percent), nonprofit organizations (56 percent) and even Catholic and other religious schools, hospitals and charities (53 percent) should provide free birth control coverage to employees.

Women are more likely than men to “strongly agree” that such coverage should be provided, LifeWay found. 

“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 healthcare regulations,” said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

The online survey of 1,191 adult Americans was conducted Nov. 14-16, 2012. The sampling error is less than plus or minus 2.9 percentage points, according to LifeWay.


About the author

Daniel Burke

Daniel Burke worked for Religion News Service from 2006-2013. He now co-edits CNN's Belief Blog.


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  • “Contraception” means “includes abortion” because they now define “pregnancy” to begin only with implantation. If people were not told what “contraception” means in the HHS regulations, the poll results are meaningless. An intelligent journalist would have noticed this.

  • Why should a religious organization be forced to do something it is against. If the governmnet wants it so badly let them provide it for people who want it. The government is so hell bent on getting rid of poeple unborn and elderly – Disgusting……

  • If you were a Catholic and your employer offered health care as a benefit, but that employer were a Jehovah’s Witness and excluded blood transfusions from your policy, whose religious rights are being infringed upon?

    Why should any employer be allowed to impose his conscience upon mine? Suppose my employer believed only in naturopathic medicine? Should I have to see a naturopath instead of my family doctor. Let’s let the USER be the one to apply conscience provisions. I think it’s reasonable that employers cover the common standard of care open to most employer-supplied insurance.

  • The fact that oral contraception is a KNOWN and DOCUMENTED DANGEROUS CARCINOGEN is still being ignored! Why? Check out the American Cancer Society list of known cancer-causing agents if you doubt it. That means that the medical system also has to then cover the cost of treatment of the cancers that develop through use of these chemicals. There is an astronomical cost from using these disease-inducing contraceptives both financially and physically. Wake up women, is anyone listening???? I hope somebody is listening. Do your research, don’t put these substances into your bodies. Employers, especially Christian employers who have your best interest at heart, should not be paying for you to ingest these harmful substances.

  • Ok, have these people surveyed thought about demanding the Muslim employers cover pork even if it goes against their religious convictions or the Jehovah’s witnesses employers to offer blood transfusion coverage to their employees? Contraception is a choice not a life and death situation so it isn’t enshrine as a right. If you don’t want to be pregnant , don’t open your legs! That’s the best coverage.

  • @Marsha West – employees are NOT being denied contraception, they just have to shell out their own money if they want to buy it. Why do people think that they are entitled to everything under the sun?

  • Sophie, with all due respect, you’re a flaming idiot. I’m *married* and don’t want kids, so I’m most certainly not going to “keep my legs closed.”

  • Re “I think it’s reasonable that employers cover the common standard of care”

    Whose standard of care are you talking about, please?

    Contraception in my professional opinion (PhD in chemistry, master’s in pharmacy, been doing life science research for more than 20 years and endocrine oncology research for 15 years) is not legitimate healthcare but rather mutilation (surgical mutilation as in vasectomy, tubal ligation, and chemical mutilation by way of sterility-inducing drugs). As a professional I’m extremely unhappy that the government tries to force me to act against my well-informed professional judgment. The HHS mandate is not only an attack on religious freedom; it’s an attack on my professional freedom and a coercion against my professional ethics as well. As a professional, I do want any part in mutilating people and providing them with drugs that do not cure any illness, drugs that mutilate people and also cause cancer.

    Why should any clinic or hospital be forced, by the government, to cover a “service” that is regarded, by the professionals working at that institution, as bad medicine and even a professionally illegitimate deviation from real medicine?

    Also, this is where the suggested analogy with blood transfusion and naturopathic medicine falls apart. I will insist, as a professional, that contraceptive drugs do not cure any disease – to the contrary, they sicken originally healthy people by rendering them infertile and they also cause cancer (the risk of the particularly aggressive and deadly triple-negative breast cancer, for example, is increased 4.2-fold by combined hormonal contraceptives, according to a recent metastudy by researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Institute in Seattle and from the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, MD). What happens when these women get diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) that will kill them since it’s more aggressive and can’t even be treated with the most common drugs since it lacks the pertinent receptors needed by those drugs to be effective? Will the government “absolve” from guilt the professionals who knew better, but chose to obey the government mandate and financially cover the drugs that they knew were carcinogenic? Will the professionals be immune from lawsuits once the women with breast cancers start suing?

    And most importantly, will the professionals be able to stand in front of God’s judgment seat, with a clear conscience? After they knew these drugs and procedures to be harmful, and they still made them more easily available to patients, by paying for them, perhaps (God forbid) even by prescribing them on request?

  • I also wonder, what will happen when most Americans will say that employers should cover pot? Will the government oblige and force employers to provide pot for “free”? Will the medical professionals oblige and set up health plans with “free” pot coverage, and prescribe pot to Americans, in spite of their better judgment that the THC found in pot harms the brain, and smoking marijuana causes cancer?

    And what else will the American people say that should be provided, “free”, by the employers? After all, most Americans don’t enjoy just swallowing the pill and moving on straight to sexual intercourse. How about the candlelit dinner? Who will pay for the night out, the oysters, the champaigne, and the jacuzzi? Shouldn’t Americans now expect the employers to pick up the tab for all those other things as well, that go together with taking the pill and having sexual intercourse?

    I’m afraid Alexis de Tocqueville (author of The American Democracy) was right when he predicted, almost 200 years ago, that democracy will be abused by the American people themselves, leading to the downfall of America.

  • Jess…”with all due respect,” that is a crude comment, I must say. And ….sexual activity and procreation are supposed to go together even though our sick culture has severed its connection. The whole point of union and love between a man and a woman is lost. It becomes objectification of one another.

  • Cruder than saying don’t open your legs? Really? Hardly . . .
    My happy 25-year marriage belies your claim that children are the whole point. They’re not. Obviously. You don’t get to define for everyone else what a intimate and successful marriage consists of.