June 2, 2014 — Majorities of Americans believe that both publicly and privately held corporations should have to cover contraceptives in their employer-sponsored health plans, according to a poll by the Public Religion Research Institute, Politico's "Pulse" reports.
The issue of contraceptive coverage is at the center of a Supreme Court case that will be decided this month (Winfield Cunningham, "Pulse," Politico, 6/2). In the case, the private corporations Hobby Lobby, an arts-and-crafts retail chain, and Conestoga Wood Specialties, a cabinet maker, are seeking an exemption from federal contraceptive coverage requirements based on the religious beliefs of their owners.
The federal contraception coverage rules, which are being implemented under the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148), require most for-profit businesses to offer contraceptive coverage in their employer-sponsored health plans. Houses of worship are exempt from the requirement, and religiously affiliated not-for-profits are eligible for an accommodation that ensures they do not have to pay for or directly provide the coverage to their employees (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/26).
The tracking survey, conducted in May, found that 57% of respondents said that privately held corporations should have to offer contraceptive coverage in their employer-sponsored health plans. In addition, 61% of respondents said that publicly held corporations should have to offer the coverage.
A majority (56%) also said that religiously affiliated hospitals should be required to offer the coverage to their employees, while respondents were more closely divided on whether privately owned small businesses (51%) and religiously affiliated colleges (52%) should have to offer the coverage.
Forty-two percent of respondents said that churches and other places of worship should have to offer the coverage, the poll found.
The poll results also included a breakdown of the findings by religious affiliation and race. Majorities of Catholics, white Catholics, minority Protestants, white mainline Protestants and religiously unaffiliated respondents said that publicly and privately held corporations should be required to offer contraceptive coverage to their employees.
However, a majority of white evangelical Protestants said employers should not be required to offer the coverage (Politico Pro, 6/2).