A majority of Americans support having businesses be compelled to provide contraceptive services as part of a healthcare plan, argues the findings of a recently released poll.
Conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, the poll found that of about 1,100 respondents, 61 percent, felt that "publicly-held corporations" should provide contraception as part of their free healthcare plans.
57 percent of respondents felt that "privately-owned corporations" should be compelled to do the same, while only a slight majority, 51 percent, believed small businesses should be required to do so.
"With the exception of churches and other places of worship, most Americans believe that employers should be required to provide their employees with healthcare plans that cover contraception at no cost," reads a PRRI report released on Monday.
"However, Americans draw distinctions based on the type and size of the employer. Opinions about the types of employers that should be required to provide health insurance that includes contraception coverage are largely unchanged from 2012."
The sample space was comprised of 214 white evangelical Protestants, 147 white mainline Protestants, 235 Catholics, 163 white Catholics, 192 minority Protestants, and 164 unaffiliated.
PRRI's report on the poll comes as the United States Supreme Court considers a case wherein two businesses are seeking an exemption from the Department of Health and Human Services' "preventive services" mandate.
Hobby Lobby Inc. of Oklahoma and Conestoga Wood Specialties of Pennsylvania have sued to be given an exemption from the mandate due to religious objections to providing certain types of birth control that can lead to the early termination of a pregnancy, which are listed in the mandate. While Hobby Lobby won its case before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, Conestoga lost before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
Both lawsuits were brought before the Supreme Court, where oral arguments were made in late March. A decision is expected sometime this month.
The results of the PRRI poll contrast sharply with a poll conducted on the same issue by WPA Opinion Research last November. In a sample space of 801 likely voters, WPA found that nearly 60 percent of respondents opposed the contraception mandate. This was comprised of 51 respondents who "strongly opposed" the mandate and 8 percent who "somewhat opposed" it.
WPA's poll was commissioned by the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council, groups that oppose the mandate.
Another finding of the PRRI poll was that 77 percent of respondents supported allowing public officials to open town meetings with prayer. This majority was found even among respondents who identified themselves as religiously unaffiliated, with 58 percent supporting prayer at official meetings.