Printer Friendly

Catholic voters' views on healthcare reform and reproductive healthcare services: a national opinion survey of catholic voters: conducted by Belden Russonello & Stewart for Catholics for Choice, September 2009.

THESE VOTERS, 84 PERCENT OF WHOM ATTEND CATHOLIC MASS regularly, strongly support the creation of a government health insurance option for those who do not already have insurance. Catholic voters also want broad coverage--under either private insurance or government insurance--for a number of controversial procedures, including abortion. Unlike the leadership of the Catholic church, most Catholic voters firmly disagree with the arguments being made by some US Catholic bishops that healthcare reform must be blocked entirely if abortion coverage is included as part of reform.

While they give high priority to reforming healthcare and strongly support a key element of Obama's plan--a government health insurance plan--Catholic voters generally are not sold on what they perceive to be President Obama's overall healthcare reform agenda.

REDUCING HEALTHCARE COSTS IS A TOP PRIORITY FOR CATHOLIC VOTERS.

Healthcare is among the top priorities for Catholic voters, second only to improving the economy (56 percent saying highest priority) and closely followed by resolving the war in Afghanistan (33 percent). Reducing costs is Catholics' top healthcare priority for Obama (37 percent highest priority), followed by ensuring that everyone in the country is covered by health insurance (28 percent).

Social justice is an important concept for Catholic voters in the healthcare reform debate. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) believe that reforming healthcare--"providing healthcare for people who need it"--is important because it is a matter of "social justice."

CATHOLICS TAKE AN EXPANSIVE VIEW OF WHAT HEALTHCARE REFORM AND INSURANCE SHOULD COVER.

The poll reveals Catholic voters would like healthcare reform to include a government health insurance option and they also support insurance coverage for a broad array of services. These views are more progressive than the views of Catholic bishops, and to some extent, the Obama administration.

Three-quarters (73 percent) of Catholics support "a new government plan that would make health insurance available to people who do not already have it."

When tax dollars are involved, Catholic voters believe that caring for people in need should take precedence over allowing medical institutions to deny certain types of care based on religious objections. Two-thirds (65 percent) believe that hospitals or health clinics that receive taxpayer dollars should not be allowed to refuse patients certain medical procedures or medications based on religious beliefs related to the institution.

Catholics see many services related to reproductive health, including abortion, as basic healthcare services that should be covered by insurance. Half or more support health insurance coverage--whether it is private or government insurance--for:

* Routine check-ups for children (97 percent) and adults (96 percent);

* Care for pregnant women and follow-up care after the baby is born (95 percent);

* HIV/AIDS testing (86 percent);

* An abortion when a pregnancy poses a threat to the life of a woman (84 percent);

* The HPV vaccine, described in the poll as "the HPV vaccine, which is given to girls to prevent them from getting cervical cancer" (81 percent);

* An abortion when a pregnancy is due to rape or incest (76 percent);

* An abortion when a pregnancy poses long-term health risks for a woman (73 percent);

* An abortion when test results show a fetus has a severe, abnormal condition (66 percent);

* Contraception, such as birth control pills (63 percent);

* Condoms to prevent HIV/AIDS (51 percent); and

* An abortion whenever a women and her doctor decide it is appropriate (50 percent).

Even Catholic voters who oppose the government offering a health insurance plan are in support of health insurance coverage--government or private--for abortions in many circumstances, as well as for HIV/AIDS testing and the HPV vaccine.

CATHOLICS PART COMPANY WITH CATHOLIC BISHOPS, REJECTING ARGUMENTS THAT HEALTHCARE REFORMS INCLUDING ABORTION COVERAGE SHOULD BE OPPOSED.

Catholic voters reject the argument being made by some US Catholic bishops that Catholics are obligated to entirely oppose any healthcare reform plan that allows for the coverage of abortions. Sixty-eight percent of Catholics reject this argument, including 37 percent strongly. Even those who oppose Obama's healthcare reform agenda (53 percent) or oppose creation of a government health insurance plan (46 percent) largely reject the bishops' argument that they are obligated to oppose healthcare reform entirely if coverage for abortion is included.

PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS NOT MADE A STRONG CASE FOR HIS IDEAS ON HEALTHCARE REFORM.

As national polls have shown, the general public is increasingly disapproving of President Obama's handling of the healthcare issue. Indeed, 48 percent disapprove and 48 percent approve of Obama's handling of healthcare in a September 2009 ABC News/Washington Post poll. Catholic voters reflect this national ambivalence as they split 52 percent to 48 percent over whether they agree or disagree with President Obama's ideas on changing the nation's healthcare system.

While confidence is lagging for Obama's general ideas on healthcare reform, polling shows broad support for many of the policies that are part of the president's plan for healthcare reform. For example, in this survey 73 percent of Catholic voters support the creation of a government health insurance plan. Recent polls of the general public show similar trends, with majorities of Americans in favor of creating a government health insurance plan.

This seems to be a case of Obama failing to make an effective argument for the American public, including Catholics, about his ideas on healthcare reform. Data from this survey underlines the gap between support for key elements of Obama's plan and overall disagreement with the president's ideas: over half of Catholic voters who favor a government health insurance plan (54 percent) still disagree with Obama's ideas on how to change healthcare, even though a government health insurance option is a part of Obama's agenda.
Calling Healthcare a Social Justice Issue

           Strongly   Somewhat

Agree         28%       45%
Disagree       9%       17%

Q30. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?
Providing healthcare for people who need it is important
because it is a matter of social justice.

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Support for New Government Health Insurance Plan

           Strongly   Somewhat

Agree         30%       43%
Disagree      13%       14%

Q13. Would you favor or oppose a new government plan that would make
health insurance available to people who do not already have it?

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Hospitals and Clinics that Take Taxpayer Dollars ...

                                           Strongly   Somewhat

Should NOT be allowed to refuse to           38%        27%
provide certain procedures, medications
based on religious beliefs

Should be required to provide condoms as     30%        30%
part of AIDS prevention

Q31. Do you think that hospitals and clinics that take taxpayer
dollars should or should not be allowed to refuse to provide certain
procedures or medications based on religious beliefs? Q32. Do you
think hospitals and clinics that take taxpayer dollars should or
should not be required to include condoms as part of AIDS prevention.

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Legality of Abortion: Abortion Should Be ...

Legal in all cases          21%
Legal in most cases         27%
Legal in just a few cases   37%
Never legal                 14%

Q33. Thinking about abortion in general, do you think abortion should
be legal in all cases, legal in most cases, legal in just a few cases,
or never legal?

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Should Health Insurance Policies--Government
or Private--Cover Services

                                             % saying "Yes"

Routine check-ups for children                97%
Routine check-ups for adults                  96%
Care for pregnant women and follow-up care    95%
HIV/AIDS testing                              86%
HPV vaccine                                   81%
Contraception, such as birth control pills    63%
Condoms to prevent HIV/AIDS                   51%
Emergency contraception                       39%

Q14-21. Do you think health insurance policies--whether they
are private or government--should cover each of the following?
Q20. Routine check-ups for children Q21. Routine check-ups for
adults Q16. Care for pregnant women and follow-up care after
the baby is born Q19. HIV/AIDS testing Q17. The HPV vaccine,
which is given to girls to prevent them from getting cervical
cancer Q14. Contraception, such as birth control pills Q18.
Condoms to prevent HIV/AIDS Q15. Emergency contraception,
also known as the morning after pill.

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Should Health Insurance Policies--Government
or Private--Cover Abortions When....

                          % saying "Yes"

Pregnancy poses a         84%
threat to the life of a
woman

Pregnancy is due to       76%
rape, incest

Pregnancy poses           73%
long-term health risks
for a woman

Test results show         66%
fetus has severe,
abnormal condition

Whenever a woman          50%
and her doctor decide
it is appropriate

Q22-26. Do you think health insurance policies--whether they
are private or government--should cover abortions under
each of the following circumstances? Q24. When a pregnancy
poses a threat to the life of a woman Q22. When a pregnancy is
due to rape or incest Q23. When a pregnancy poses long-term
health risks for a woman Q25. When test results show a fetus
has a severe abnormal condition Q26. Whenever a woman and
her doctor decide it is appropriate

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Opposing Healthcare Reform Entirely
If It Includes Coverage for Abortions

                                             Strongly   Somewhat

Disapprove of U.S. Bishops saying health       39%         29%
care reform should be entirely opposed if
abortion included

Disagree that, as Catholics, they should       37%         31%
oppose health care reform entirely if
abortion included

Q29. DO you approve or disapprove of US Catholic Bishops
saying that all Catholics should oppose the entire healthcare
reform plan if it includes coverage for abortions?

Q27. Do you agree or disagree with people who say that, as a
Catholic, you should oppose the entire healthcare reform plan
if it includes coverage for abortions?

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Priorities for President Obama

Improving economy                             56%
Lowering health care costs                    37%
Resolving war in Afghanistan                  33%
Ensuring everyone is covered by health        28%
insurance
Improving public education                    25%
Cutting taxes                                 24%
Promoting moral values                        21%
Stopping global warming                       13%
Protecting woman's right to choose abortion   10%

Q2-10. Using this 1 to 7 scale, how high a priority do you think each
of the following should be for President Barack Obama? ONE means the
lowest priority and SEVEN means highest priority. Use any number from
one to seven. Q4. Improving the economy Q2. Lowering healthcare costs
Q9. Resolving the war in Afghanistan Q3. Making sure that everyone in
the country is covered by health insurance Q5. Improving public
education Q6. Cutting taxes Q7. Promoting moral values Q10. Stopping
global warming Q8. Protecting a woman's right to choose abortion

Note: Table made from bar graph.

President Obama's Ideas on
Changing the Healthcare System

             Strongly   Somewhat

Agree           19%       33%
Disagree        23%       23%

Q12. Do you agree or disagree with President Obama's ideas about how
we should change the nation's healthcare system?

Note: Table made from bar graph.
COPYRIGHT 2009 Catholics for Choice
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Conscience
Article Type:Survey
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2009
Words:1753
Previous Article:What Catholics want in healthcare reform: should we cover some people, some parts of people, or all parts of everybody?
Next Article:We believe in healthcare reform.
Topics:


Related Articles
ADDENDA.
Poll shows Catholics ignoring church on election issues.
Election analysis through the looking glass: political ideology is more important than religion when it comes to voting.
Bishops seek to make abortion an election issue.
Report: support for abortion on decline in America.
Editor's note.
What Catholics want in healthcare reform: should we cover some people, some parts of people, or all parts of everybody?
We believe in healthcare reform.
Index: Latino and Latina Catholics believe in healthcare reform.
Senate votes against Nelson-Hatch Amendment limiting reproductive choice.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters