Majority Oppose Contraceptive Mandate
Special Report - March 16, 2012
A new national survey shows that a majority of Americans believe that employers with moral or religious objections to contraception should be able to opt out of a new federal mandate requiring all public and private employers, including religious hospitals, charities and universities, to cover the cost of “all FDA-approved” contraceptives in their health insurance plans. The New York Times/CBS News Poll, which was released on March 12, is based on a national telephone survey of 1,009 Americans.
The poll included the following question: “Should health insurance plans for all employees have to cover the full cost of birth control for female employees or should employees be able to opt out for moral or religious reasons?” According to the results, 51 percent of respondents said that “employees should be able to opt out [of the mandate] for religious reasons,” (this includes 46 percent of women and 57 percent of men in the poll), while 40 percent said employers should “cover the full cost of birth control for female employees.”
Additionally, when asked a follow up question, 57 percent of the respondents said “religiously affiliated employers, such as a hospital or university” should be able to opt out of the mandate, while 36 percent said they should be forced to cover birth control for the female employees, and eight percent had no answer or said it “depends.” The poll also asked respondents whether the debate over the contraceptive mandate was more about religious freedom, women’s health and their rights, or both. According to the results, 51 percent said the debate was more about “women’s health and their rights,” followed by 37 percent who said it was more about “religious freedom,” and six percent said it is about both issues.
A statement from the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops this week outlines their agreement with a majority of Americans as demonstrated by the recent poll. “A Statement On Religious Freedom and HHS Mandate,” released March 14, emphasizes that the USCCB “is strongly unified and intensely focused in its opposition to the serious threats to religious freedom in our day.” The statement draws particular attention to “[o]ne particular religious freedom issue [that] demands our immediate attention: the now-finalized rule of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that would force virtually all private health plans nationwide to provide coverage of sterilization and contraceptionincluding abortifacient drugssubject to an exemption for ‘religious employers’ that is arbitrarily narrow, and to an unspecified and dubious future "accommodation" for other religious organizations that are denied the exemption.”
The Bishops also emphasized that the recent debate over the HHS mandate is “not about access to contraception, which is ubiquitous and inexpensive, … not about the religious freedom of Catholics only, but also of those who recognize that their cherished beliefs may be next on the block, … not about the Bishops' somehow ‘banning contraception,’ … not about the Church wanting to force anybody to do anything; … [and] not a matter of opposition to universal health care, which has been a concern of the Bishops' Conference since 1919, virtually at its founding.” The Bishops’ argue, “it is instead about the federal government forcing the Churchconsisting of its faithful and all but a few of its institutionsto act against Church teachings.” They conclude that the debate is really “an American issue,” and is about “[a]n unwarranted government definition of religion, … [a] mandate to act against our teachings … [and a] violation of personal civil rights.”
Seven States Challenge Contraceptive Mandate - February 27, 2012
Insurance "Accommodation" Unsatisfactory - February 15, 2012
Religious Leaders Oppose Mandate - January 31, 2012
Feds Keep Contraceptive Mandate - January 23, 2012
Evangelical College Joins Contraceptive Challenge - December 29, 2011
College Challenges Contraceptive Mandate - November 14, 2011
Administration Requires Free Contraception- August 4, 2011
Becket Fund Defends Belmont Abbey - October 12, 2009
Federal Agency Mandates Abortion Coverage - August 17, 2009
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