Americans Strongly Oppose Obama Mandate, New Poll Shows
by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 3/13/12 11:35 AM
New polling released by New York Times/CBS finds Americans strongly oppose the new HHS mandate and favor a broad exemption for religious groups and employers who do not want to pay for birth control drugs or drugs that may cause abortions.
The new survey reveals that, by a 50-41 percentage point margin, Americans say all employers should not have to cover birth control or potentially abortion-causing drugs while a larger 57-36 percentage point margin say religious employers should not be forced to provide coverage.
When asked “Should health insurance plans for all employees have to cover the full cost of birth control for female employees or should employers be able to opt out for moral or religious reasons?” even women favor the opt-out on a 46-44 percent plurality. That margin for women increased to a 53-38 margin for “religiously affiliated employers, such as a hospital or university.”
Men favored opting out by a 20 point margin (57 vs. 37), and that percentage jumped to a 25-point spread for an opt out when religious employers were mentioned.
“These are not close results. It’s hard to read this poll and not conclude that, contrary to some accounts, Obama wasn’t such a genius to pick a fight over mandated contraception coverage–because he appears to be losing the public debate on the question. That’s a conclusion the Times story effectively hides from readers,” says Mickey Klaus of the Daily Caller. “It’s also one possible explanation for Obama’s otherwise somewhat mystifying overall drop in approval during the period–March 7-11–when the poll was in the field. But not an approved explanation.”
The New York Times/CBS poll is not a one off.
A February Rasmussen Reports national telephone surveyfinds 38 percent of likely voters think health insurance companies should be required by law to cover the morning after pill without co-payments or other charges to the patient. But 50 percent of Americans disagree and oppose this requirement while 13 percent are undecided.
“That’s less support than the 43% who believe health insurers should be required to provide free contraception in general,” pollster Scott Rasmussen noted. “Only 39% are opposed to the policy of providing free contraceptive services, 11 points lower than opposition to mandated coverage of the morning after pill.”
Looking deeper into the results of the new survey, Ramussen reports that female voters are only slightly more supportive than male voters of requiring health insurance companies to provide emergency contraception for free. Sixty-five percent (65%) of Democrats say health insurers should be required to provide the morning after pill for free. Seventy-two percent (72%) of Republicans and 54% of voters not affiliated with either party oppose such a policy.
Just 11% think requiring health insurance companies to cover the cost of the morning after pill will reduce the cost of health insurance. Forty-nine percent (49%) say the mandate will increase the cost of health insurance, while 31% believe it will have no impact, according to the new survey released today.
That survey follows a previous Rasmussen pollasking, “The requirement to provide contraceptives for women violates deeply held beliefs of some churches and religious organizations. If providing such coverage violates the beliefs of a church or religious organization, should the government still require them to provide coverage for contraceptives?”
“While a narrow plurality supported the concept of providing contraceptives for free, 50% opposed the administration’s decision requiring churches or religious organizations to provide free contraceptives if it violates their deeply held beliefs,” Rasmussen added.
Also in February, a CNN survey indicated half of Americans oppose the new mandate pro-abortion President Barack Obama put in place that requires religious employers to pay for birth control or drugs that can cause abortions.
Interviews with 1,026 adult Americans conducted by telephone by ORC International on February 10-13 for CNN asked, “As you may know, the Obama administration has announced a new policy concerning health insurance plans provided by employers, including religious organizations, and how they handle birth control and contraceptive services for women. Based on what you have read or heard, do you approve or disapprove of this policy?”
The results show 50 percent disapprove with the new Obama mandate while 44 percent of Americans support it and 6 percent are undecided.
The survey data showed men disapprove of the anti-conscience mandate 55-40 percent while women are supportive 47-46 percent. Younger voters are most supportive while older voters are more strongly opposed and white voters are opposed while non-white voters are more supportive.
The CNN survey follows a recent Pew poll asking, “Should religiously-affiliated institutions that object to the use of contraceptives be given an exemption from this rule, or should they be required to cover contraceptives like other employers?” That survey showed 49 percent of Americans essentially opposed the mandate and supported a religious exemption while 44 percent said religious employers should be forced to cover the birth control and controversial abortifacient drugs.
The new Obama mandate that requires religious groups to pay for birth control and drugs that may cause abortions for their employees could result in fines as much as $2,000 per employee or $100 each day if they refuse to comply.
Despite a vote in the Senate against overturning it, nation’s Catholic bishops and leading pro-life groups vow to continue fighting the Obama mandate that forces religious employers to pay for birth control and drugs that may cause abortion.
The mandate has already become the subject of several lawsuits.
Meanwhile, more than a dozen state attorneys general have signed onto a joint letter Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning started coordinating against the controversial Obama mandate requiring religious employers to cover birth control and drugs that can cause abortions
Bruning has contacted each of his colleagues in 49 states and has already been joined by a dozen, including South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. Together, the three lawmakers have co-signed a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebilius, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis over the Obama mandate.
Also, the largest Catholic pro-life group and Catholic television station have filed suit against the new Obama mandate that forces religious employers like them to pay for birth control and abortion-causing drugs in employee health insurance. The EWTN Global Catholic Network filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Birmingham, Alabama against the Department of Health & Human Services, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and other government agencies seeking to stop the imposition of the anti-conscience mandate as well as asking the court for a declaratory judgment that the mandate is unconstitutional.
Priests for Life, a New York based international pro-life organization of Catholic clergy and laity, filed a lawsuit against the Obama Administration in an effort to seek injunctive relief from impending regulations that would require the organization to pay for employee health insurance that covers abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization.
The Obama administration asked a federal court to dismiss yet another lawsuit filed against the Obama administration over its mandate.
This was its first opportunity to explain to the court and the country why the mandate is not illegal and unconstitutional. The Obama administration did not defend the constitutionality of the mandate, but said the lawsuit should be thrown out because the administration plans to revise the mandate to make it on insurance companies to pay for coverage rather than employers, who will still have to make referrals.
“Plaintiff’s challenge to the preventive services coverage regulations is not fit for judicial review because defendants [Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius] have indicated that they will propose and finalize changes to the regulations that are intended to accommodate plaintiff’s religious objections to providing contraception coverage,” the Department of Justice (DOJ) wrote in its brief to the Washington, D.C. District Court.
Obama officials claim the mandate does not put forth any “immediate injury” to religious groups.
Luke Goodrich, Deputy General Counsel of the Becket Fund, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of Belmont Abbey College, a Catholic university, says he thinks the Obama administrations argument will not stand up in court.
“It doesn’t argue that the mandate is legal; it doesn’t argue that the mandate is constitutional,” Goodrich said. “Instead, it begs the court to ignore the lawsuit because the government plans to change the mandate at some unspecified date in the future.”
“Apparently, the administration has decided that the mandate, as written and finalized, is constitutionally indefensible,” said Hannah Smith, senior counsel at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty “Its only hope is to ask the court to look the other way based on an empty promise to possibly change the rules in the future.”
The panel that put together the mandate has been condemned for only having pro-abortion members even though polling shows Americans are opposed to the mandate.
More than 50 members of Congress banded together at a press conference to demand legislation to stop the new mandate pro-abortion President Barack Obama put in place forcing religious employers to pay for insurance coverage including birth control and abortion-inducing drugs.
Congressman Jeff Fortenberry held a press conference with supporters of the bipartisan, bicameral Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. His legislation would protect the religious liberty and conscience rights of every American who objects to being forced by the strong-arm of government to pay for drugs and procedures recently mandated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The Fortenberry bill currently has the support of approximately 220 Members of Congress and Senators, the most strongly-supported legislative remedy to the controversial HHS mandate. This measure would repeal the controversial mandate, amending the 2010 health care law to preserve conscience rights for religious institutions, health care providers, and small businesses who pay for health care coverage.
H.R. 1179 enjoys the endorsements of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Right to Life Committee, Americans United for Life, and other organizations. Numerous other organizations, including the Christian Medical Association and Family Research Council, have urged support of the bill.
Sen. Roy Blunt, a pro-life Missouri Republican, is putting forward the Blunt Amendment, #1520, again, and it is termed the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. According to information provided to LifeNews from pro-life sources on Capitol Hill, the Blunt Amendment will be the first amendment voted on when the Senate returns to the transportation bill. The amendment would allow employers to decline coverage of services in conflict with religious beliefs.
Republicans are moving swiftly with legislation, amendments, and potential hearings on the mandatethe Obama administration has put in place that forces religious employers to pay for birth control and abortion-inducing drugs for their employees.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement saying Obama’s revised mandate involves “needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions” and it urged Congress to overturn the rule and promised a potential lawsuit.
Meanwhile, the Republican presidential candidates had been taking verbal swings at Obama for imposing the original mandate on religious employers, which is not popular in the latest public opinion poll and which even some Democrats oppose.
Congressman Steve Scalise has led a bipartisan letter with 154 co-signers calling on the Obama Administration to reverse its mandate forcing religious organizations to include drugs that can cause abortion and birth control in the health care plans of their employees.
The original mandate was so egregious that even the normally reliably liberal and pro-abortion USA Today condemned it in an editorial titled, “Contraception mandate violates religious freedom.”
The administration initially approved a recommendation from the Institute of Medicine suggesting that it force insurance companies to pay for birth control and drugs that can cause abortions under the Obamacare government-run health care program.
The IOM recommendation, opposed by pro-life groups, called for the Obama administration to require insurance programs to include birth control — such as the morning after pill or the ella drug that causes an abortion days after conception — in the section of drugs and services insurance plans must cover under “preventative care.” The companies will likely pass the added costs on to consumers, requiring them to pay for birth control and, in some instances, drug-induced abortions of unborn children in their earliest days.
The HHS accepted the IOM guidelines that “require new health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services” and those services include “FDA-approved contraception methods and contraceptive counseling” — which include birth control drugs like Plan B and ella that can cause abortions. The Health and Human Services Department commissioned the report from the Institute, which advises the federal government and shut out pro-life groups in meetings leading up to the recommendations.