Poll finds Americans split on contraception mandate

WASHINGTON — Americans are split on a federal mandate requiring nearly all employers — even institutions with strong religious affiliations … Continued

WASHINGTON — Americans are split on a federal mandate requiring nearly all employers — even institutions with strong religious affiliations — to provide insurance covering contraception.

That’s according to a new poll that found that 62 percent of Americans are aware of the controversy, which has pitted the Obama administration against Catholic bishops and evangelical Christian leaders.

The poll, from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, showed that of those familiar with the issue, 48 percent support an exemption for religiously affiliated institutions that object to providing contraception coverage; 44 percent said these institutions should provide it.

Among Catholics, 55 percent favor an exemption, and 39 percent oppose it. That compares to 68 percent of white evangelicals who favor an exemption (22 percent opposed) and 44 percent of mainline Protestants (46 percent opposed).

The poll was conducted between Feb. 8-12, including the day (Feb. 10) that President Obama softened the mandate by requiring insurers — not religious groups — to offer the coverage. Pollsters found that respondents’ answers varied little before and after the administration’s policy change.

The survey of 1,501 adults has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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  • yard80197

    the catholic church should put its money where its mouth is. Instead it is trying to serve both God and Mammon. So why does it not exhort its members all-out to adhere to Christian teachings? because it fears losing its tax-exempt status. Bah. Hypocrites!

  • anne15

    This is not a case of religious liberty but how taxpayer dollars are being used. Taxpayer dollars are used to build these ‘religious affiliated’ institutions; to pay for salaries of their employees; and other infrastructure costs. These church affiliated institutions rely upon federal dollars to provide services and in the case of social services actively apply for federal grants to provide services mandated by federal law. As subcontractors of the federal government, they must separate their church responsibilities from their public ones. As long as one dime of their employees salaries are funded by taxpayer dollars, they can not pick and choose what federal laws to adhere to or whether their employees benefit package has to be aligned with their religious beliefs. What’s next? Are religious hospitals going to dictate whether a patient and their family continue on life-supports or deny a therapeutic abortion when a pregnant woman’s life is in grave danger? Will they be allowed to require employees to undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer to prolong their lives?

    If a religious group elects to run federally mandated programs or treat Medicare and/or Medicaid patients, they can’t dictate to their employees how to treat the patient or client nor deny their employees birth control. This is not the same as the Catholic woman working directly for a parish or the Diocese offices. This is a case where employees whose salaries or parts of salaries and benefits are paid by tax payer dollars. This is a case of religious liberty for the employees not church officials. They don’t have to accept taxpayer dollars to run their institutions if they don’t want to abide by federal rules.