New York Times/CBS News Poll: Most say there should be exemption from Obama mandate for employers who object on religious or moral grounds

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-Abortion President Barack Obama

A new CBS News/New York Times poll shows majority support for an exception for employers who have religious or moral objections to the Obama mandate requiring virtually all employers to pay for services they regard as morally objectionable. Fifty-one percent agreed that employers of any kind should be able to “opt out” of providing birth control coverage for their employees to 40% who say they should have to cover.

When asked about religiously-affiliated employers, the 51% jumps to 57%. Under either scenario, both women and men were in favor of the exception.

To be specific, the questions asked of over 1,000 respondents were

“Do you think health insurance plans for all employees should have to cover the full cost of birth control for their female employees, or should employers be able to opt out of covering that based on religious or moral objections?”

Cover Birth Control: 40%  Allowed to Opt Out: 51%

“What about for religiously affiliated employers, such as a hospital or university? Do you think their health insurance plans for all employees should have to cover the full cost of birth control for their female employees, or should they be able to opt out of covering that based on religious or moral objections?”

Cover Birth Control: 37%  Allowed to Opt Out: 57%

Columnist Mickey Kaus dug into the poll numbers. He found with reference to all employers, women favored allowing them to opt out, 46% to 44%. “The margin increased to a decisive 53-38 for ‘religiously affiliated employers,’ such as a hospital or university,” Kaus explained.

But with men the numbers were overwhelming. “Men favored opting out by a 20 point margin (57 vs. 37), except when a ‘religiously affiliated employer’ was involved, in which case the margin increased to 25 points,” Kaus wrote. “Combining men and women, a substantial majority (51-40) favors allowing an opt-out–increasing to 57-36 where religiously-affiliated institutions are involved. These are not close results.”

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that “Fifty-one percent of Americans say they think the issue is more about women’s health and their rights than about religious freedom, while 37 percent say the opposite,” according to Lucy Madsen. This suggests, for now, the President has succeeded in framing the issue in a way advantageous to the mandate.

But this is a heavyweight fight that will go all 15 rounds. Faith communities have reached out in a concerted way to teach their congregants and the public that the real question is (to quote Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)

“Can a government bureau, in this case the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), define for us or any faith community what is ministry and how it can be exercised?  Can government also coerce the church to violate its conscience? …Pure and simple, it’s about religious freedom, the sacred right, protected by our Constitution, of any Church to define its own teaching and ministry.”

Your feedback is very important to improving National Right to Life News Today. Please send your comments to daveandrusko@gmail.com. If you like, join those who are following me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/daveha