Americans Oppose Religious Restrictions on Contraception

Catholics for Choice and the ACLU commissioned a new poll that shows that large majorities of Americans — and Catholics specifically — oppose policies that allow religious businesses, organizations and individuals to deny contraception coverage to their employees or customers. The key findings:

The great majority of Americans (81 percent) says, “The law should not allow companies or other institutions to use religious beliefs to decide whether to offer a service to some people and not others.”

Sixty-nine percent of Americans think it is wrong for a university to deny birth control coverage. An equal number of Catholics (68 percent) objects, although much of the opposition to this healthcare provision came from Catholic leaders. Seventy-seven percent of Americans, and an equal proportion of Catholics, object to pharmacies refusing to fill birth control prescriptions.

Eighty-seven percent of Americans (and a similar percentage of Catholics), say that a doctor should not be allowed to withhold information about fetal defects for fear a woman might consider an abortion. Sixty-eight percent of Americans, and 66 percent of Catholics, say it is wrong for a doctor to refuse to refer for an abortion.

Sixty-two percent of Americans and 59 percent of Catholics oppose allowing a Catholic hospital to decline to perform an abortion that is medically necessary to protect a woman’s health.

Eighty-eight percent of Americans and 86 percent of Catholics believe voters don’t have an obligation to follow a Catholic bishop’s recommendation on how to vote. Seventy-nine percent of Americans and 75 percent of Catholics believe Catholic politicians don’t have an obligation to follow the hierarchy’s directives.

This is good news.

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  • As a Pastafarian employer, I am surprised nobody supports my right to force my employees to use lasagna instead of contraception.

  • And in other news, the Vatican announced today that Catholics for Choice had been declared anathema, and that any any Catholic associated with the organization was automatically excommunicated until they had severed ties to it and been absolved of their sins.

  • roggg

    Wait. 12% of Americans (25 million eligible voters) think a Catholic is obligated to follow the voting recommendations of a bishop? Sweet Jebus that is disturbing…

  • I continue to be weirded out by the disconnect between the Catholic laity and the leaders. I just don’t understand why so many still identify as Catholic or why they aren’t undergoing a schism. I understand tribal identity is a factor, but it amazes me that it can survive that sort of strain.

  • Trebuchet

    As I recall, 40 years ago the disconnect between the laity and clergy was equally large, but in the other direction. The clergy were largely liberal, partly due to the influence of Pope John XXIII. That started changing under John Paul II and is accelerating now. Today’s rank and file, however, are the kids that grew up under the formerly liberal priests.

  • ArtK

    This is good news.

    You’re far more of an optimist than I am. The problem that I see is that the fundies wield power out of proportion to their numbers and they don’t give a flying whatever for what the majority want. In their world, God has a majority of 1 and that’s all that matters.

  • AsqJames

    I think much of the problem is that although there is clearly a majority who are in favour of access to contraception and at least some abortion rights, they tend not to decide their vote on those issues alone. On the other hand, those who oppose abortion and contraception outright, while in the minority, tend to be more vocal and active on those issues and would (claim to) never vote for a politician who didn’t share their views.

    That’s just my perception though, so I may be wrong. I’d like to see some polling on the lines of “I would [never/only ever] vote for a candidate who [did/didn’t] support a woman’s right to choose” or “a candidate who opposed abortion” or something like that. And similar questions on exceptions for rape, incest, health/life of the mother, access to contraception, etc.

  • F

    And 30%* of Catholics believe you should do exactly the opposite of what the hierarchy says, lol.

    *Number pulled from ass.

  • D. C. Sessions

    This is good news.

    But depressing.

  • To be fair, it is nice seeing the Christian Right argue on the side of a minority for once…

  • laurentweppe

    I continue to be weirded out by the disconnect between the Catholic laity and the leaders. I just don’t understand why so many still identify as Catholic or why they aren’t undergoing a schism.

    Because, last time a schism occured in the Catholic church regarding the corruption of the princes of the church, it ended like this

  • had3

    It’s always a disconnect to me that people believe an authoritarian dictator who banishes to hell anyone who questions his power is in support of democracy. Weird.

  • Doug Little

    Speaking of voting, I would love to know how staunchly Republican women are going to vote and whether they will say that they voted for Mitt but really end up voting for Obama. Unfortunately we will never know because they will take that shit to the grave with them on fear of retribution from either their church or their husbands.

  • sezme

    If Republicans sponsored a study that concluded 68% of the population support, say, DOMA, then many here would be calling it into question. So when the Catholics for Choice and the ACLU sponsor a study that concludes 68% support their policies, shouldn’t we raise flags, even if we like the outcome?

  • dingojack

    sezme – it depends, do you have evidence that the ACLU or Catholics for Choice are fundamentally dishonest?