Survey Shows Broad Support Across Party Lines for Contraception and a Public and Private Approach to Reducing Unplanned Pregnancy

Oct 22 2012

(Washington, DC) -- Fully 70 percent of adults believe that health insurance companies should be required to cover the full cost of birth control for women, just as they do for other preventive services, according to a new survey commissioned by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Given that half of all pregnancies in the United States are described by women themselves as unplanned, most Democrats (86%) and Independents (67%) believe health insurers should be required to cover birth control. Republicans are divided between those who feel insurance should (48%) and should not (48%) face this requirement.

In addition, more than three-quarters (81%) of Americans think the government should continue to help women who cannot afford birth control. Since the early 1970s, the federal government has made free or low-cost contraception available to some low-income women. According to the survey, majorities of Democrats (91%), Independents, (80%) and Republicans (66%) are in support of continuing such efforts.

Other findings from the survey include:

Economics. Eight in ten adults (79%) agree that during tough economic times, it is important to reduce unplanned pregnancy by increasing women's access to birth control.� Majorities of Democrats (92%), Independents (80%) and Republicans (59%) agree this is important.

Contraception and Abortion. Eight in ten adults (79%) agree that policymakers who oppose abortion should be strong supporters of birth control. Majorities of Democrats (85%), Independents (80%) and Republicans (71%) agree with this sentiment.

Personal Responsibility. Large majorities of adults (95%) -- including Democrats (97%), Independents (96%), or Republicans (92%) -- agree that for those trying not to get pregnant, using birth control is taking personal responsibility.

"Removing cost as a barrier and helping women choose from the full range of contraceptives available, including the most effective ones, leads to dramatic declines in unplanned pregnancy and abortions," said Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign. "The magic combination of responsible public and private policies and responsible behavior on the part of men and women can make all the difference in helping reduce unplanned pregnancy and improving the education and employment prospects of women and their families."

Half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned -- about 3 million each year -- and three-quarters of unplanned pregnancies are to women 29 and younger. Economically speaking, taxpayers spend about $12 billion annually on unplanned pregnancy, according to the Brookings Institution.

The telephone survey of 1,029 adults was conducted by Social Science Research Solutions, an independent company. The survey, which included 871 registered voters, was conducted October 10-14, 2012. The margin of error is +/-3.1 percentage points.

About The National Campaign: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy seeks to improve the lives and future prospects of children and families. Our specific strategy is to prevent teen pregnancy and unplanned pregnancy among single, young adults. We support a combination of responsible values and behavior by both men and women and responsible policies in both the public and private sectors. If we are successful, child and family well-being will improve.

Supporting Materials

A group of teenage girls