There has been a research on how faith and religion can affect the attitude of women towards the policies created for reproductive health such as the Affordable Care Act and its contraceptive coverage.

This study tries to debunk the common notion that the religion and faith of a woman can predict her views and opinions on the policies that affect reproductive health care including birth control insurance coverage.

The study conducted by the University of Michigan shows that opinions of religious women are mixed regarding policies that are characterized as going against Christian views, e.g. Affordable Care Act that mandates employers to provide contraception coverage to their women employees.

The study shows that 66% Protestants and 63% Catholics were most likely to approve of the Affordable Care Act which is even a greater percentage compared to non-religious women and non-Christian religions who have a percentage of fifty-nine (59%). The least likely to approve of the ACA were Baptists and other Christian groups (48% and 45% respectively).

Overall, 56% of women will most likely support the mandate on contraceptive health coverage while less than 25% would like to be exempted from ACA because of religious beliefs. These findings were also shown in Contraception, an international reproductive health journal.

According to the lead author Elizabeth Patton, M.D., M. Phil, M. Sc., an OB-GYN at the University of Michigan Health System and at the same time, a researcher at VA Center for Clinical Management research, they wanted to study the correlation of a woman’s religious affiliation and her view on the policy on reproductive health care but found out that there is no significant relationship between the two.

Dr. Patton added that there are debates about reproductive health care that have been tagged as religious vs. non-religious but this is not based on research. Their study has found out that the attitude of religious women towards reproductive health care policies are much more complex than what they thought.

Last year was a tough year for the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to provide contraceptive coverage to female employees. Owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood opposed to this mandate because they claim that it is against their religious beliefs. The Supreme Court sided with these two companies and decided that corporations with religious owners are not obliged to follow the ACA’s insurance coverage of contraception.

Recently, the Supreme Court also asked the lower court to reconsider a decision on barring Notre Dame, a Catholic University, from refusing to provide coverage on contraception to their employees due to religious reasons.

The University of Michigan study found out that only 23% of women agreed that religious hospitals and schools should be exempted from the contraceptive coverage mandate. Majority of these women however disagreed with insurance coverage on abortion.

Researchers analyzed data conducted by the Program on Women’s Health Care Effectiveness Research of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan and data coming from the Women’s Health Care Experiences and Preferences survey which includes a sample of 1,078 women in America with ages 18 to 55. This research examined the relationship between religious association and attitude towards contraception coverage by employers and abortion services.

The political debates in the country about religion and reproductive health still continue. Dr. Patton said that there is a need to make sure that these women, despite having different religious beliefs, should be served well by these policies. There is also a great need for everyone to be aware of how complex religion can affect women’s views so that the policies on reproductive health can be designed to truly cater to the desires of most women in the United States.

Editors Note: Most contraception methods only protect against pregnancy, not STD’s. Only condoms can prevent most sexually transmitted diseases, and some can still spread even with proper condom use. If you have been using contraceptives with the impression that it will safeguard you from diseases, you should have yourself tested for a possible STD infection.

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