Women more likely to say insurance should cover birth control

June 20, 2013, 9:04 PM GMT+0

Most Americans say insurance should pay for birth control, but opinion on the matter differs sharply by gender, a trait which does not affect some other reproductive issues

Over the past few years, one controversy regarding President Obama's healthcare insurance reforms has been whether employer-provided health insurance should be required to cover the cost of contraceptives. New YouGov research reveals that a majority of Americans believe that insurers should at least be required to pay for the cost of birth control.

Overall, 54% of Americans say that insurance should be required by law to pay for birth control and 38% say it should not.

There is a firm difference on the question between men and woman. 62% of women believe that birth control should be covered by health insurance and only 29% oppose having such a requirement. Men, however, are far more equivocal: 46% say it should be covered and 43% say it should not.

Political differences also play a major role. 74% of Democrats support requiring health insurers to pay for birth control, while 64% of Republicans oppose it.

As for whether another reproductive issue - abortion - should be covered by health insurance, the shape of opinion is very different. Across the general population, 32% of Americans believe that insurance should be required to cover the cost of abortions as opposed to 55% who believe it should not.

The gap between male and female opinion is also much smaller, with 30% of men and 35% of women supporting having the cost of abortion covered and 49% of both men and women opposed to having it be covered.

While gender isn't as important for beliefs on abortion and insurance, political affiliation is. A plurality of Democrats support (49%) having it be covered by insurance and an overwhelming majority of Republicans (80%) oppose having it be covered.

On the question of which party is doing best on reproductive issues such as contraception or abortion in general, Americans take a dim view of both, though with Democrats faring slightly better.

33% of Americans say the Democratic party is doing a better job making decisions on the matter, while 22% say Republicans are. A just as sizable amount (34%) think that neither party is doing a better job.

While women are much more in line with Democrats on the question of insurance and birth control, this doesn't lead into a firm political gender gap. Women are only slightly more likely to prefer Democrats on reproductive issues than men are.

This lack of enthusiasm with the two parties comes several days after a Republican-led House passed a bill to ban all abortions after 20 weeks. Recent research from YouGov shows that Americans favor abortion be legal, but with at least some restrictions.

Complete results can be found here.

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