March 30, 2015 — A majority of U.S. adults ages 18 to 35 across all religions, ethnicities and races favor access to affordable birth control, according to a Public Religion Research Institute survey released Friday, the Religion News Service/Salt Lake Tribune reports (Grossman, Religion News Service/Salt Lake Tribune, 3/27).
For the survey, funded by the Ford Foundation, researchers interviewed 2,314 U.S. adults in the age group between Feb. 12 and Feb. 25 (Gamboa, NBC News, 3/27).
Key Findings: Contraception
The survey found that 81% of respondents favored ensuring that women who are not able to afford birth control can access it (Kuruvilla, Huffington Post, 3/27). Specifically, 79% of white Protestant women and 87% of Catholic women said they support expanding access to birth control for women who cannot afford it (Religion News Service/Salt Lake Tribune, 3/27). Eighty-four percent of Latino respondents also said they support expanding contraceptive access to address affordability issues (NBC News, 3/27).
In addition, researchers found that 71% of respondents said it is morally acceptable to use birth control, including 72% of white Catholic respondents and 68% of Hispanic Catholic respondents. Meanwhile, 14% of respondents said it depended on the situation, while 9% of respondents said birth control is morally wrong.
Further, the survey found that about 58% of respondents said private corporations should offer employee health plans that include contraceptive coverage. Specifically, 67% of Hispanic respondents, 64% of Asian-Pacific Islander respondents, 57% of black respondents and 55% of white respondents said they support contraceptive coverage in private companies' employer-sponsored health plans. Meanwhile, 73% of Democratic respondents agreed with the idea, compared with 38% of Republican respondents (Huffington Post, 3/27).
The survey also found that a majority of respondents from most major religious groups, including 60% of Catholic respondents, said access to contraceptives is critical to the financial security of women. However, only 38% of white evangelical respondents agreed, compared with 62% who disagreed. In addition, 18% of respondents said they had used emergency contraception, while 29% said they knew a family member or close friend who had done so (Religion News Service/Salt Lake Tribune, 3/27).
Meanwhile, about 79% of religiously unaffiliated respondents, 63% of white Protestant respondents and 61% of black Protestant respondents said abortion should be legal in most or all cases. About 80% of white evangelical Protestants, 61% of Hispanic Protestants and 55% of Hispanic Catholics said abortion should be illegal in most or all cases (Huffington Post, 3/27).
Further, the survey found that about 27% of respondents said they consider themselves "pro-choice," while about 25% said they are "pro-life." Meanwhile, 22% of respondents said neither label describes their views well, while 27% of respondents said that both terms describe them equally well.
The survey also found that 8% of respondents said they had an abortion, while 36% said they knew of a family member or close friend who had an abortion (Religion News Service/Salt Lake Tribune, 3/27).
In addition, the survey found that about 75% of respondents favored comprehensive sexuality education being taught in public schools, with support spanning all religious, ethnic and racial groups. By contrast, about 21% of respondents said they opposed the teaching of comprehensive sexuality education in public schools.
Further, about 67% of respondents said that to prevent unintended pregnancy, it is better to emphasize safe sexual practices and contraceptives than to emphasize abstinence (Huffington Post, 3/27).