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Strong Support Shown by Republicans and Independents for Reproductive Health Care Agenda

A new national opinion survey sponsored by the National Women's Law Center and the YWCA USA demonstrates that Republicans and Independents strongly support an array of public policies to improve reproductive health care.

The survey of 1,000 Republican and Independent voters conducted by Public Strategies, Inc. found that Republicans, and to an even greater degree Independents, support a range of legislative proposals to make contraception more affordable and accessible. Additionally, Republicans and Independents strongly support comprehensive sex education, particularly as compared to abstinence-only programs. Support for a reproductive health care agenda focused on preventing unintended pregnancies extends to more conservative "strong" Republicans as well as more moderate Republicans and Independents.

One of the most striking findings of the survey was that nearly three-quarters (73%) of Republican and Independent voters are concerned that government is too quick to involve itself in people's personal lives and private decisions when it comes to sexual behavior and pregnancy.

Contraception:

  • Nearly three-quarters (72%) of Republicans and Independents favor legislation that would make it easier for people at all income levels to obtain contraception, and 70 percent favor legislation that would help make birth control more affordable. More than 60 percent of fundamentalist/evangelical Protestants favor these proposals.
  • Only 2 percent of Republicans and Independents would like to see government restrict access to contraception. A majority (64%) would like to see government provide more information about contraception, and 33 percent would prefer that the government play no role.
  • A strong majority of Independents (67%) and nearly half of Republicans (49%) have a favorable opinion of emergency contraception.

Sex Education:

  • Only 8 percent of Republicans and Independents think the government should support abstinence-only education. A strong majority of Independents (76%) and Republicans (62%) believe the government should support comprehensive sex education programs that include information about abstinence, as well as information about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Self-identified "strong" Republicans prefer comprehensive sex education over abstinence-only education by a 56 percent to 14 percent margin.
  • Two-thirds (67%) of Republicans and Independents prefer a Senate candidate who favors teaching comprehensive sex education in public schools over a candidate who favors teaching abstinence-only.

Pharmacy Refusals:

  • Overall, more than half (51%) of Republicans and Independents strongly favor legislation that requires pharmacies to ensure that patients access contraception at their pharmacy of choice, even if a particular pharmacist has a moral objection to contraceptives and refuses to provide it.
  • Self-identified "strong" Republicans favor such legislation by a 55 percent to 36 percent margin.

Abortion:

  • Overall, the Republican/Independent sample opposes overturning Roe v. Wade by 51 percent to 43 percent.
  • Even 44 percent of Republicans oppose overturning Roe v. Wade.


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