Most Americans Support Mandated Birth Control Coverage, Study Finds

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A University of Michigan Health System study has found that a striking 69 percent of Americans support mandated insurance coverage of birth control.

Recently published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the study finds that women, African-Americans and Hispanics are significantly more likely to support contraceptive coverage than the general population. The same was found to be true of adults with children living at home and those with private or public insurance.

Those figures arrive as the Supreme Court prepares its ruling in the case of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, which should determine whether the Oklahoma arts and crafts company can be exempt from Affordable Care Act stipulations that it cover emergency contraceptives in its insurance plan. The company says that its "religious beliefs prohibit them from providing health coverage for contraceptive drugs and devices that end human life after conception."

The new data won't affect the court's decision, but it doesn't support right-wing claims that contraceptive mandates contradict the preferences of most Americans.

The data "indicates that the majority view in the United States is that coverage for contraceptives should be required," Michelle Moniz, M.D., an ob/gyn and the lead author of the study, says in a press release. Unsurprisingly, she says, "support is higher among individuals who may be more likely to directly benefit from affordable birth control."

Those results are not drastically different from previous polls identifying support for contraceptive coverage mandates at 61 to 66 percent, though the percentage has risen.

According to the study, Moniz and her team sent out a cross-sectional survey last November to respondents in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, asking questions about insurance coverage for a variety of health services, including mammograms, dental care and vaccines.

The response rate of the survey was 61 percent, with respondents tending on average to be white, older and more educated.

The full study is available online.