Women and Politics

A blog from WCF about the state of women and politics

Study: Most Americans support reproductive health choices

As the divisive battle over reproductive health continues, both sides continue to declare that their views are supported by most Americans.

But as the Women’s Donor Network’s research has discovered, it’s all in the way you frame the question. And when asked about people’s freedom to make individual life choices, it seems that most Americans want that right—which includes access to the full range of reproductive health choices.

An excerpt from their Moving Forward research findings is below:

MOVING FORWARD TOP 10 KEY FINDINGS

A NEW FRAME LEADS TO A NEW DISCUSSION; IT MATTERS WHERE YOU START THE CONVERSATION.

The frame incorporates the word “life” in a new way and prompts people to naturally use language that conveys a set of core American values including individual decision-making, responsibility, respect, freedom and prevention.

By using the word “decisions,” we can highlight the more serious, deliberative nature of making a choice, supporting public opinion for many choices and options.

Birth control is supported by 91% of voters.

In the opinion of eight out of 10 voters (78%), the government has a responsibility to ensure birth control methods, emergency contraception and the HPV vaccine are safe and available.

A large majority (81%) believe that regarding these important life decisions, individuals, not politicians or the government, should decide which option is best for themselves and their families, according to their own circumstances and values.

Both men and women (78%) believe that for women to achieve equality, they must have access to family planning services, including birth control.

91% believe couples should be able to have access to birth control options.

86% believe that on comprehensive sex education, schools can do a good job, probably better than most parents, on the biological and scientific aspects of sex education, but it’s a parent’s job to provide the moral and ethical guidance.

76% believe that for teenagers, prevention starts with comprehensive sex education including abstinence. But, if we are serious about wanting to decrease unintended pregnancies, we also need to make sure birth control is widely available and accessible.

A strong majority of voters (87%) agree insurance companies should be required to cover women’s preventive care and screenings, such as contraception, Pap tests for cervical cancer and breast cancer screenings.

VOTERS WANT ABORTION TO BE PUT IN PERSPECTIVE AND NOT BANNED

The current political discussion focuses mostly on abortion, but voters want a broader discussion that is more relevant to their everyday lives.

A strong majority of voters (81%) think that issues such as birth control, emergency contraception, comprehensive sex education, stem cell research, end-of-life decisions and the hpv vaccine are just as important as abortion.

Eight out of 10 voters (81%) agree that they “may have one position on abortion, another on birth control and still a third on end-of-life decisions” and that “sometimes we must just agree to disagree.”

Support for legal, safe abortions has been consistent for three decades.

In the view of eight out of 10 voters (81%), we should each appreciate and respect our individual opinions.

INTENSITY AND HIGH LEVELS OF SUPPORT FOR THE BROAD AGENDA EXIST ACROSS RELIGION, PARTY AFFILIATION AND OTHER DEMOGRAPHICS

Our research shows that regardless of religious affiliation, church attendance, abortion stand or voting history, a strong majority of voters agree with key statements that support a broader agenda:

A strong majority of Catholic (81%) and Republican (62%) voters agree that: “The current political debate focuses on abortion. But there is a much broader discussion that needs to happen that includes issues such as birth control, emergency contraception, comprehensive sex education, stem cell research, end-of-life decisions, and the HPV vaccine, that are just as important.”

A strong majority of Catholic (85%) and Republican (66%) voters also agree that: “We need to respect people’s ability to make their own life decisions and not impose our values and views on them.” Support is strong regardless of religion, church attendance, voting history or abortion stance.

VOCAL HARD RIGHT ACTIVISTS STOPPING PROGRESS ON THE BROADER AGENDA ARE ONLY 9% OF ALL LIKELY VOTERS

A cluster analysis of our research reveals that a small percentage of voters dominate the discussion of the broader agenda.

These extremely politically active voters are opposed to family planning and comprehensive sex education; their opposition is fueled by moral and religious beliefs.

They largely identify themselves are Republican voters: 81% (14% say they are ticketsplitters; 5% say they are Democrats).

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2 Responses to “Study: Most Americans support reproductive health choices”

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  2. May 5th, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Organo Gold says:

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