A new poll released this week by Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and the National Women's Law Center (NWLC) shows that American voters overwhelmingly support access to affordable contraception. According to the poll (PDF), the Obama Administration's rule under the Affordable Care Act that requires all employers, including religiously-affiliated employers, to include contraception coverage without co-pays or deductibles in their health insurance plans is viewed by most voters as being about economics and women's health, not religious liberty.
In a joint press release, Marcia Greenberger, co-president of NWLC and Cecile Richards, president of PPFA, announced the results of the poll and emphasized the wide support for affordable contraception. Marcia Greenberger wrote, "This polling demonstrates, once again, that Americans across the political spectrum and religious beliefs support affordable access to prescription birth control and reject opponents' claims that this is not a matter of basic health care. The use of birth control is nearly universal among sexually active women, regardless of their political or religious beliefs, and this new polling mirrors that reality. For a majority of voters, this is a matter of basic health care, not of religious freedom."
The poll found that 73 percent of voters agreed that Americans should have access to affordable contraception, and 55 percent strongly agreed. Fifty-four percent of voters who identified as pro-life agreed with this, as did 66 percent of Catholics and 58 percent of Evangelical Protestants. Fifty-six percent of voters identified the Obama Administration's rule as a matter of economics and health while 36 percent viewed it as a matter of religious liberty. The poll had a margin of error of +/- 3.1 for the full sample.
Media Resources: NWLC/ Planned Parenthood Press Release 6/20/12; Hart Research Memo 6/20/12
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .