NYT Poll: Majority of Americans Say Employers Should Be Able to Opt Out of Contraception Mandate

March 13, 2012 - 10:22 AM
birth control

Birth control pills. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – A significant majority – 57 percent -- of Americans believe religiously-affiliated employers such as universities or hospitals should be able to opt out of the Obama administration’s mandate to cover the cost of contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization for female employees, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll released Tuesday.

Fifty-one percent believe all employers should be able to opt out.

The New York Times/CBS News poll's questions were not exactly accurate because they only mentioned "birth control" in describing the mandate. They did not mention that the mandate also requires coverage for sterilizations and drugs that induce abortions.

Question 73 of the poll asks: “Do you think health insurance plans for all employees [sic] should have to cover the full cost of birth control for their female employees, or should employers be allowed to opt out of covering that based on religious or moral objections?”

Fifty-one percent said yes to this question and only 40 percent said employers should be required cover birth control. The remaining 8 percent responded either “don’t know” or “depends.”

Question 74 asked: “What about for religiously affiliated employers, such as a hospital or university? Do you think their health insurance plans for all employees should have to cover the full cost of birth control for their female employees, or should they be allowed to opt out of covering that based on religious or moral objections?

Here, 57 percent said religiously-affiliated employers such as a hospital or university should be able to opt out. Only 36 percent said these institutions should be required to cover birth control. The remaining 7 percent either didn’t know or said it depends.

President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats have sought to take political advantage of the controversy over whether HHS should force people--particularly Catholics--to act against their faith in purchasing or providing insurance coverage for sterilizations and all FDA-approved contraceptives including those that cause abortions. Democrats and the administration have tried to frame the issue as a question of conservatives and Catholic bishops waging a war on women.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have said the regulation, which would force Catholics to act against the teachings of their faith, is an "unprecedented attack" on religious liberty. Many American Catholic bishops have addressed letters to the Catholics in their dioceses, saying: "We cannot--we will not--comply with this unjust law."