March 12, 2014 — About 53% of U.S. residents think that businesses owned by individuals who oppose birth control should not be exempt from a federal requirement to offer contraceptive coverage to their workers, according to a new poll from the Wall Street Journal and NBC News, the Wall Street Journal's "Washington Wire" reports (Radnofsky, "Washington Wire," Wall Street Journal, 3/12).
The contraceptive coverage rules, which are being implemented under the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148), require most for-profit, private businesses to offer contraceptive coverage in their employer-sponsored health plans (Women's Health Policy Report, 2/11). 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, 1/6).
For the poll, which covered several other topics, Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research Associates surveyed 1,000 adults in the U.S. via phone (O'Connor, Wall Street Journal, 3/12).
According to the poll, 41% of respondents said they thought that for-profit employers who object to contraceptive coverage should be eligible for the same exemption as religious organizations, while about 6% of respondents said that they were unsure.
The poll also found that 65% of female voters ages 18 through 49, 61% of voters in the Northeast and 72% of voters who identified as Democrats thought that for-profit employers should not be exempt from the coverage requirement. According to "Washington Wire," the findings suggest that liberal candidates can use the issue as a "rallying cry" during the 2014 election.
Conversely, the poll found that roughly 70% of respondents who said that religion was the most important thing in their lives said that they believed for-profit companies should be allowed an exemption. The findings suggest that conservative candidates might also be able to leverage the issue during the 2014 elections, "Washington Wire" reports ("Washington Wire," Wall Street Journal, 3/12).