More than 40 Catholic institutions filed 12 separate lawsuits this week against the Obama administration’s regulation requiring employers and insurers to cover contraceptive services at no additional cost to employees — arguing that it violates Catholic institutions’ religious liberty. But most U.S. Catholics don’t consider birth control to be a threat to their religious belief. In fact, 82 percent of Catholics say contraception is “morally acceptable,” according to a Gallup poll from earlier this month.
Although Catholic Church leaders have transformed contraception into a culture war issue over the past few months, their position does not have the backing of the majority of Catholic adherents, especially when compared to the American public as a whole. The poll demonstrates that Catholic support for birth control is a mere 8 points below the 90 percent of non-Catholic Americans who have no moral objections to birth control:
The Obama administration has already amended its contraception regulation to provide accommodations for employers and insurers who object to covering birth control for religious reasons. A third-party insurer may pay for the birth control, ensuring no additional cost to either the employee seeking coverage nor the religious institution. Nonetheless, prominent Catholic figures such as Cardinal Timothy Dolan have referred to the contraception rule as a method of “strangling” religious freedom.