Survey on Reproductive Health Agenda

By Christine Cupaiuolo — February 17, 2009

When it comes to the politics of women’s health, there’s more common ground than might be expected, according to a new national opinion survey sponsored by the National Women’s Law Center and the YWCA USA.

“The survey of 1,000 Republican and Independent voters conducted by Public Strategies, Inc. found that Republicans, and to an even greater degree Independents, support a range of legislative proposals to make contraception more affordable and accessible,” according to the release. Among the findings:

  • Nearly three-quarters (72%) of Republicans and Independents favor legislation that would make it easier for people at all income levels to obtain contraception, and 70 percent favor legislation that would help make birth control more affordable. More than 60 percent of fundamentalist/evangelical Protestants favor these proposals.
  • Only 2 percent of Republicans and Independents would like to see government restrict access to contraception. A majority (64%) would like to see government provide more information about contraception, and 33 percent would prefer that the government play no role.
  • A strong majority of Independents (67%) and nearly half of Republicans (49%) have a favorable opinion of emergency contraception.

I haven’t seen the questions, but I was a bit surprised to read that “only 8 percent of Republicans and Independents think the government should support abstinence-only education.” The percentage of Independents and Republicans who support comprehensive sex education programs was a less enthusiastic 76 percent and 62 percent, respectively, but those numbers are still higher than I would have guessed.

Plus: Abstinence-only education programs were funded to the tune of $175 million per year under the Bush administration. Has its golden age come to end? The Economist ponders the fate of abstinence-only education under a new administration and Congress.

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