September 22, 2009

New Survey: Most Americans Want Health Care Reform, Oppose Abortion Coverage, Support Conscience Protection Laws

WASHINGTON — A nationwide survey commissioned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has found widespread public opposition to including abortion in health care reform and majority support for conscience rights protection – views shared by those who favor efforts to pass health care reform.

Conducted by International Communications Research (ICR) from September 16-20, 2009, the phone survey of 1,043 U.S. adults found that 60 percent favor – and only thirty percent oppose – “efforts to pass health care reform to provide affordable health insurance for all.” Focusing on that sixty percent, the survey found that:

n Sixty percent of those favoring reform oppose – and only 25 percent support – “measures that would require people to pay for abortion coverage with their federal taxes.”

n By a 49-39 percent plurality, those who favor reform oppose “measures that would require people to pay for abortion coverage with their health insurance premiums”; and

n Among those favoring reform, those who favor maintaining “current federal laws that protect doctors and nurses from being forced to perform or refer for abortions against their will” outnumber those who oppose keeping such laws in place by a margin of two to one (60-30).

Opposition to abortion coverage was somewhat stronger in the total sample of U.S. adults – for example, 67 percent of the total sample opposed requiring people to pay for abortion coverage through their taxes and 56 percent opposed making them do so through their insurance premiums.

The survey also asked: “If the choice were up to you, would you want your own insurance policy to include abortion?” Sixty-eight percent of U.S. adults said ‘No’ and only 24 percent said ‘Yes.’
“The USCCB survey confirms other recent polls conducted by Public Opinion Strategies (August 30-September 1) and Rasmussen Reports (September 14-15) on health care policy and abortion,” said Deirdre McQuade, Assistant Director for Policy & Communications at the USCCB’s Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities. “With each passing week it gets clearer: The American public generally does not want to pay for abortion coverage and does not want health care reform used to promote abortion,” she said.

“Abortion is not health care. The bishops of the United States are working hard to ensure that health care reform serves the most vulnerable among us – especially the poor, immigrants, and the unborn,” McQuade said.

For more information on the U.S. bishops’ position on health care reform, visit

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