The American public is closely divided over the federal rule that would require employers, including most religiously-affiliated institutions, to cover birth control as part of their health care benefits, according to the latest survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
The survey, conducted Feb. 8-12 among 1,501 adults, found that, among the approximately six-in-10 Americans (62 percent) who have heard about the rule, 48 percent support an exemption to the rule for religious institutions if they object to the use of contraceptives, and 44 percent say they should be required to cover contraceptives like other employers.
On Feb.10, the Obama administration announced it would modify the mandate in response to criticism that the rule would force religious organizations to violate their religious beliefs in providing contraception coverage. The latest Pew survey shows little difference in opinions among people interviewed before the administration’s proposed modification and those interviewed afterward.
Among religious groups, 55 percent of Catholics, who have heard at least a little about the issue, favor giving religious institutions that object to the use of contraceptives an exemption from the federal rule, while 39 percent oppose exempting those institutions.
White evangelical Protestants, by an even larger margin (68 percent to 22 percent), favor giving religious institutions an exemption. White mainline Protestants are divided (44 percent favor an exemption, 46 percent are opposed).
By contrast, a majority (55 percent) of the religiously unaffiliated who have heard about the issue say religious institutions that object to the use of contraceptives should be required to cover them like other institutions, while 39 percent favor giving an exemption to these institutions.
To read full results of the Pew survey, click HERE.