June 6, 2014

​Survey: 4 in 10 Americans Support Contraception Mandate

 ©2014 Religion News Service

than four in 10 Americans support the Obama administration’s controversial
contraception mandate, which requires nonprofits and businesses to provide
birth control even if they have religious objections.

poll from Public Religion Research Institute comes 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.

and houses of worship are exempt from the mandate, but nearly
100 nonprofits, colleges and universities and businesses run by people
with religious objections to various forms of contraception have filed lawsuits
over the mandate.

poll found majority support for requiring publicly held corporations (61
percent) and privately owned corporations such as Hobby Lobby (57 percent) to
provide contraception coverage at no cost to their employees. In addition,
majorities of Americans said religiously affiliated hospitals (56 percent)
and religiously affiliated colleges (52 percent) should be covered by the

poll found less support (51 percent) for applying the mandate to privately
owned small businesses; 53 percent oppose applying the mandate to all
institutions, including churches and houses of worship, while 42 percent
said it should apply to them.

2012 poll by the Pew Research Center found that 48 percent supported a
religious exemption to the mandate, while 44 percent said
businesses should be required to cover contraceptives like other
employers. The PRRI poll asked a bit differently, asking whether institutions
and businesses should be required to provide their employees with health
care plans that cover contraception or birth control at no cost. Pew asked
whether those groups should be extended an exemption.

PRRI’s poll
also found that a majority (54 percent) of Americans believe that the right of
religious liberty is being threatened in America, up from 39 percent two years
ago. Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats (80 percent vs. 40
percent) to say that religious liberty is being threatened.

evangelicals especially believe religious liberty is being threatened in the U.
S. today, at 83 percent, compared to 55 percent of Catholics and 53 percent of
white mainline Protestants. While more than 50 percent of Catholics believe
that public and private businesses should be required to provide employees
contraceptive coverage, less than half of white evangelicals support the

other findings, the poll found that even religiously unaffiliated Americans (58
percent) support public officials opening a meeting with prayer. Nearly 80
percent of Americans support allowing public officials to open meetings. The
Supreme Court held last month that public officials could hold sectarian