Statewide survey finds strong opposition to family planning cuts and employer limits on birth control access
Texans overwhelmingly see women’s access to family planning and birth control as important and support state funding for low-income women seeking those services, a new statewide poll from the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund shows.
According to the poll, majorities also oppose the deep funding cuts made by state lawmakers to family planning programs in 2011 or allowing bosses to deny their workers health care coverage for birth control.
“Politicians who want to interfere with the freedom of women to make decisions about their own health and when they will have children are clearly out of step with the majority of Texans,” TFN President Kathy Miller said. “Most Texans want the Legislature to provide adequate funding for family planning programs and ensure broad availability of birth control, especially for low-income women.”
Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg in Washington, D.C., and Republican pollster Bob Carpenter in Maryland conducted the Feb. 6-11 telephone survey of registered voters in Texas.
By a margin of 68-30 percent, registered voters believe access to family planning and birth control for women, regardless of their income, is extremely or very important. In addition, they support – by 73-24 percent – state funding for family planning services, including birth control, for low-income women.
Moreover, Texas voters oppose the deep cuts to funding for family planning programs made by the Legislature in 2011, 57-38 percent. And by 56-40 percent, they say a boss should not be allowed to deny employees health care coverage for birth control because it violates the employer’s religious or moral beliefs.
The poll shows that support for state funding and for access to family planning services and birth control for all women, including low-income women, is both broad and deep, crossing political, racial, generational and geographic lines.
Democrats, African Americans and Hispanics are among the strongest supporters on both questions. But support is also strong among whites overall, Republican women, Catholics and “born-again” Christians.
Support from such a broad array of constituencies – especially the state’s rapidly growing Hispanic population – for all women’s access to family planning services and birth control should serve as a warning to politicians in Austin, Miller said.
“During the last legislative session, some lawmakers openly declared that they wanted a war on birth control and made access to family planning services even harder for women,” Miller said. “But most Texans clearly think broad access to family planning services and birth control is common sense. They’re tired of seeing women’s health care turned into a political battlefield.”
The Texas Freedom Network Education Fund is a nonpartisan research organization that supports religious freedom, individual liberties and public education.
Some Key Numbers from the Poll
How important is it to you that Texas women have access to family planning and birth control, regardless of income? (Numbers are rounded.)
Little/Not at all 30%
Extremely important 36%
Very important 32%
Just a little important 16%
Not important at all 13%
Don’t know/refused 3%
Do you favor or oppose providing state-funded family planning services, including birth control, for low-income women? (Numbers are rounded.)
Strongly/Somewhat favor 73%
Somewhat/strongly oppose 25%
Strongly favor 48%
Somewhat favor 25%
Somewhat oppose 6%
Strongly oppose 20%
You might be surprised who supports state funding for birth control for low-income women in Texas.
77% of Hispanics
69% of Republican women
70% of Catholics
85% of young people
66% of born-again Christians
Hispanic Texans support birth control.
79% favor making it accessible to all women
77% support state funding to make it accessible
63% oppose the 2011 state cuts to family planning budgets
70% oppose excluding birth control from insurance coverage
Source: Survey of 604 registered Texas voters, Feb 6-11, 2013, margin of error: +/- 3.99 percentage points, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Chesapeake Beach Consulting