Posted on June 20, 2012 Issues: Health Care & Reproductive Rights

Today, on the eve of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ “Fortnight for Freedom” to roll back birth control coverage, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) released new data clearly showing that American voters overwhelmingly support access to affordable birth control and understand that it is an issue of basic economic fairness and health, not religious liberty.

In internal polling (PDF) conducted among likely voters earlier this month for PPFA and NWLC by Hart Research, nearly three in four voters (73 percent), including 80 percent of women and 78 percent of Independents, agreed that all women should have access to affordable prescription birth control and that cost should not be a barrier to using the most effective form of birth control.  Additionally, when it comes to employers providing full coverage for prescription birth control, by a 20-point margin, 56 percent of American voters see this issue as a matter of women’s health care and access to birth control, not one of religious liberty.  Independent voters’ views mirror those of voters overall, with 56 percent of independents saying that this is an issue of women’s health care and access to birth control.

“Access to birth control is a basic economic and health imperative for women, and this data clearly shows that the overwhelming majority of voters agree,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.  “Given the broad consensus of support among voters, it’s remarkable that we have to continue to make this case in 2012.  As the nation’s leading women’s health care provider and advocate, Planned Parenthood knows firsthand the struggles that women face in accessing and affording birth control, and we are committed to ensuring that every woman has access to the care and services she needs and deserves.”

“This polling demonstrates, once again, that Americans across the political spectrum and religious beliefs support affordable access to prescription birth control and reject opponents’ claims that this is not a matter of basic health care,” said Marcia D. Greenberger, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center.  “The use of birth control is nearly universal among sexually active women, regardless of their political or religious beliefs, and this new polling mirrors that reality.  For a majority of voters, this is a matter of basic health care, not of religious freedom.”

Affordable birth control helps women plan their families, prevent unintended pregnancies, and improve health outcomes for them and their children.  Increased access to birth control has been linked with directly with declines in maternal and infant mortality.

Please see the enclosed Hart Research memo for additional information on the new data: