More than two thirds of female voters believe corporations should not be exempt from Obamacare’s requirement to extend insurance coverage for FDA-approved birth control methods, according to a new poll conducted by Hart Research Associates. The polling results come just one day before the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments from two for-profit companies, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, who are seeking this type of exemption on religious grounds.
The poll — conducted on behalf of Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Women’s Law Center — found that 68 percent of women object to allowing companies like Hobby Lobby to refuse to cover contraception. And consistent with previous polling in this area, the female respondents in this poll, including most of those who identified themselves as Catholic, were overwhelmingly supportive of the Obamacare provision that requires insurers to cover preventative health services with no additional co-pay. Ninety three percent of participants favor this aspect of the health law, including 87 percent of Republicans.
When asked to decide whether a series of statements about birth control were persuasive to them, respondents were not sympathetic to the two plaintiff’s major claims. Just 37 percent were convinced by the argument that “no employer should be required to cover birth control in their company’s health plan if birth control goes against their religious faith.” Meanwhile, 84 percent identified with the statement that “the decision about using birth control should be a woman’s personal decision and her boss should not be able to interfere with it.”
If Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood win their cases, it could actually have implications that go far beyond contraception. For-profit companies could win the right to withhold coverage for other services they disagree with, like vaccines or blood transfusions. And businesses could gain a foothold for future discrimination against the LGBT community.
When Hart polled women on those issues of religious liberty, respondents firmly disagreed that companies should be exempt from other laws based on their religious beliefs. An equal number of participants, 81 percent, agreed that businesses should not be allowed to refuse services to LGBT individuals based on a religious objection to homosexuality, and that pharmacies should not be allowed to refuse to fill birth control prescriptions based on a religious objection to contraception.
About 14,000 people are employed at the two companies that are currently seeking to eliminate coverage for birth control prescriptions and counseling. In the lead up to the closely-watched Supreme Court case, dozens of religious leaders and over 100 U.S. lawmakers have spoken out in favor of Obamacare’s birth control coverage. Supporters are rallying around the idea that proved to resonate in Hart’s polling: the fact that birth control is “not my bosses’ business.”
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