June 24, 2014

Contraception by Democracy:
If the majority of Americans want contraception covered, why is it a big deal?


The Public Religion Research Institute recently released a survey that showed a majority of Americans support requiring employers to supply health insurance that covers contraception for their employees. According to Salon, around 60% of Americans "believe that publicly held and privately held corporations should be required to provide employees with health insurance that includes full contraception coverage."



Catholics trended closest to the overall trends, but white evangelical Protestants--often associated with the Tea Party movement--trend fairly far below.

As one might expect, the data for privately-held corporations also showed severe partisan divides.



Democrats strongly supported it, while Republicans strongly opposed it. Independents favored the measure, but not as strongly as Democrats.

According to Sarah Pullian Bailey of the Religion News Service, the poll came as the "Supreme Court prepares to issue its decision in a challenge to the contraception mandate filed by the evangelical owners of the Hobby Lobby arts and crafts chain and a Mennonite-owned wood cabinetry business".

It's easy to see that the owners of these business fall safely within the confines of the data we're exploring. The question that remains to be answered is whether the Supreme Court's decision will fall within the realm of what the majority of Americans support or whether it will reflect the views of a fringe minority.

We know that contraception access is a good thing overall. While we always want to search for new and safer medical options, hormonal contraception today is far safer than pregnancy or childbirth. It also has enormous financial and psychological benefits. Emotional wellbeing is not to be underestimated, of course. Then there's the far-ranging benefits of population control.

Hormonal contraception access is especially important for women. Controlling fertility allows women to achieve financial success, as well as career and education goals.

This begs the question: If the majority believe that mandatory contraception coverage is important...why are we even having this conversation?

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