More than 150 Catholic bishops have criticized President Barack Obama's approval of a law that will require religious organizations to provide contraception coverage in employees' insurance offerings.
But a new study by the Public Religion Research Institute shows that Catholics overwhelmingly support the new rules. The poll reveals that six out of ten Catholics believe employers should be required to provide their employees with healthcare plans that cover contraception, while 55 percent of Americans at large supported the new requirement. [Read Susan Milligan: Good Girl Versus Bad Girl Healthcare]
White evangelicals opposed the new regulation more than any other religious group, with 56 percent saying it imposed on religious freedom.
Nearly 75 percent of Democrats approve of the new reform while only 36 percent of Republicans support it.
The new law is part of the president's healthcare overhaul, and will make it mandatory for religious colleges, non-profits and hospitals to offer employees insurance packages that include contraception coverage. While some organizations will be granted an adjustment period, eventual failure to provide coverage to employees could result in penalties.[See a collection of political cartoons on healthcare.]
A large proportion of Catholics polled did say, however, that the government should not require churches to provide their employees with insurance covering birth control.
Nearly three quarters of white evangelicals also agreed that churches should remain exempt from the new law.