About seven in ten Americans support the Obamacare provision that requires employer-sponsored insurance to cover the full cost of contraception, according to a new survey published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. That particular aspect of the health reform law is the subject of a pending Supreme Court challenge, as two for-profit companies claim that covering birth control violates their religious beliefs.
Sixty nine percent of respondents reported they support “mandated coverage of birth control medications in health plans.” The study found that women, African Americans, Latinos and parents living with children under the age of 18 were more likely to support this policy than the people in other demographic groups.
“While the Supreme Court considers if corporations can be required to cover birth control in insurance plans like other preventive care, the American public is abundantly clear: we’re all for it,” Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, noted in a statement.
The survey results also indicate that Americans are broadly supportive of the concept that all insurance plans should cover certain types of preventative health services. Between 85 percent and 75 percent of respondents indicated that they favor mandatory coverage of mammograms, colonoscopies, recommended vaccinations, mental health care, screenings for diabetes and high cholesterol, and dental care.
This isn’t the first evidence that Obamacare’s birth control coverage is popular among the American public. Another recent poll found that two thirds of female voters don’t believe that for-profit corporations should be exempt from providing contraceptive coverage — and hope that the two plaintiffs, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, will lose their Supreme Court case.
And although the controversy over this Obamacare provision hinges on religious liberty claims, there’s evidence that many faith-based groups are actually supportive of birth control coverage. The JAMA study didn’t ask respondents about their political or religious beliefs, but previous polling has found that religious Americans use birth control at the same rates as non-religious people do, and that they support expanding access to contraception. Even the majority of U.S. Catholics believe that insurers should be required to offer contraceptive coverage in their workers’ plans, despite the Catholic hierarchy’s staunch opposition to this policy.
Providing women with affordable access to contraception helps prevent unintended pregnancies, lower the national abortion rate, keep women in the workforce, and improve the economy as a whole. Once Obamacare is fully in effect, an estimated 47 million women across the country will have access to birth control with no additional co-pay.