A CBS News/New York Times poll released this week shows that most people don’t support the new government mandate for all employers to cover birth control and possible abortifacient drugs in employee health plans — particularly when the employer is a religious organization.
According to the poll of 1,000 respondents, 51 percent said employers should be able to opt out of providing that kind of health insurance — and 57 percent said religious employers especially should be exempt.
Only 40 percent said they agree with the mandate for most employers, and that number dropped to 36 percent when asked about religious employers — a 21-point margin of support for religious freedom rights.
Both men (57 percent) and women (46 percent) favor allowing even non-religious business owners to opt out (only 44 percent of women said the mandate is fine). Those numbers also rose concerning religious groups: 62 percent of men and 53 percent of women say they should be exempt.
Despite strong percentages in support of religious freedom, 51 percent of people appear to think the controversy is actually about women’s health care, not religious freedom.
“This indicates that the megaphone of abortion proponents who claim this is a ‘war on women,’ coupled with friendly media is confusing some folks,” said CitizenLink Federal Issues Analyst Ashley Horne. “When you ask people a straightforward question about this mandate, they understand that religious freedom is what’s at stake.”
The poll also showed President Obama’s approval rating has dropped to 41 percent.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Read “Be not afraid to oppose the HHS mandate,” National Review Online.
Read Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ Jan. 20, 2012, statement.