Religion At The Drugstore

Catholic Church, Christian Cross, birth-control, abortion, pills CBS

While this year's presidential election may have illustrated a country divided, particularly on the issue of the role religion should play in the public arena, Americans are clearly united in their opposition to religion interfering with their right to purchase prescription birth control.

According to a CBS News/New York Times poll, eight out of ten Americans believe pharmacists who personally oppose birth control for religious reasons should not refuse to sell oral contraceptives.

Just 16 percent told pollsters that they think pharmacists should be able to refuse to dispense birth control pills on religious grounds.


Should Pharmacists Opposed To Birth Control Be Able To Refuse To Sell Birth Control Pills?

Yes
16%
No
78%

Even though a majority of all demographic groups are opposed to the notion of pharmacists refusing to dispense birth control pills to women for religious reasons, some groups are more open to it than others:

  • 19 percent of men say pharmacists should have the right to refuse to fill a birth control prescription if he or she is personally opposed to birth control, while 14 percent of women think pharmacists should have that right.

  • 25 percent of Americans age 45 to 64 say pharmacists should have the option of refusing to sell birth control pills because they are personally opposed to birth control.

  • A quarter of those who call themselves Republicans, and the same number who classify themselves as conservatives, say it is OK for pharmacists to refuse a woman birth control pills based on his or her religious beliefs.

  • 21 percent of those who say they voted for President Bush in 2004 support the rights of pharmacists who refuse to dispense birth control pills, compared to 12 percent of those who voted for Sen. John Kerry.

  • Americans who attend religious services on a weekly basis are more likely than those who attend less often to say pharmacists should be able to decline to fill a prescription for oral contraceptives because of religious beliefs. 7 percent of those who never attend religious services support this right for pharmacists.

  • Catholics (21 percent) are a bit more likely than Protestants (17 percent) to support the rights of pharmacists who refuse to sell birth control pills because of religious beliefs. Also, 24 percent of white evangelical Christians also favor allowing pharmacists this choice.


    Should Pharmacists Opposed To Birth Control Be Able To Refuse To Sell Birth Control Pills?

    DEMOGRAPHICS

    Total
    Yes
    16%
    No
    78%

    Men
    Yes
    19%
    No
    75%

    Women
    Yes
    14%
    No
    80%

    Age 18-29
    Yes
    14%
    No
    83%

    30-44
    Yes
    10%
    No
    86%

    45-64
    Yes
    25%
    No
    70%

    65 and over
    Yes
    15%
    No
    73%

    Republicans
    Yes
    25%
    No
    70%

    Democrats
    Yes
    12%
    No
    85%

    Independents
    Yes
    14%
    No
    78%

    Liberals
    Yes
    11%
    No
    85%

    Moderates
    Yes
    13%
    No
    82%

    Conservatives
    Yes
    24%
    No
    69%

    Bush voters
    Yes
    21%
    No
    73%

    Kerry voters
    Yes
    12%
    No
    86%

    Protestants
    Yes
    17%
    No
    77%

    Catholics
    Yes
    21%
    No
    72%

    White evangelicals
    Yes
    24%
    No
    69%

    Attend Church every week
    Yes
    22%
    No
    70%

    Attend Church almost every week
    Yes
    20%
    No
    76%

    Attend Church less often
    Yes
    14%
    No
    82%

    Never attend Church
    Yes
    7%
    No
    85%



    This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 885 adults interviewed by telephone November 18-21, 2004. There were 795 registered voters. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus three percentage points for results based on all adults and all registered voters.

    For detailed information on how CBS News conducts public opinion surveys, click here.



    • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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