Pew Research Center, Released: February 14, 2012
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, conducted Feb. 8-12 among 1,501 adults, finds sharp divisions on the issue by religious affiliation, party and ideology.
The Obama administration announced Feb. 10 that it would modify the mandate in response to criticism that the rule would force religious organizations to violate their religious beliefs in providing contraception coverage. The survey shows little difference in opinions among people interviewed before the administration’s proposed modification on Feb. 10 and those interviewed afterwards.
About six-in-ten Americans (62%) have heard about the proposed federal rule that would require employers, including most religiously affiliated institutions, to cover birth control as part of their health care benefits. Among those aware of the issue, opinion is closely divided over whether these institutions should be given an exemption to the rule if they object to the use of contraceptives: 48% support an exemption and 44% say they should be required to cover contraceptives like other employers.
Among Catholics who have heard at least a little about the issue, 55% favor giving religious institutions that object to the use of contraceptives an exemption from the federal rule, while 39% oppose exempting those institutions.
This study found that the people most interested in this issue are at either end of the political spectrum than those in the middle. It is interesting that men overall (64%) had heard more about this issue than women overall (60%) and only 44% of women had heard about this issue between the ages of 18-49, who it would most directly affect.
Although the use of contraception is forbidden by church doctrine, few U.S. Catholics regard the use of contraceptives as morally wrong. Let’s hope Catholics and women in particular become more knowledgable about this issue and decide to support women’s right to birth control and contraception.
The full Pew Research article can be found here.