Texas Freedom Network Poll: Most Texans Support Birth Control and Family Planning

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Texas Freedom Network has a lot to be irritated about lately. TFN is a left-leaning advocacy group focusing on things like civil liberties, church-state separation and not wasting classroom hours teaching Texas schoolchildren that the Rapture is a rock-solid scientific inevitability.

As you might imagine, TFN comes down on the opposite side of many issues from the majority of Texas politicians, especially where women's health, birth control and family planning are concerned. The organization has been especially critical of state lawmakers' decision to cut $73 million from the state family planning budget last session, as well as boot Planned Parenthood out of the Women's Health Program. They've termed the whole thing a "war on birth control," because, well, that's what State Representative Wayne Christian called it.

Today, TFN came out with a bit of better news: a survey claiming that, unlike their elected representatives, about two-thirds of Texans think all women in the state deserve access to birth control and family planning, regardless of income level. Some of them even think it should be state-funded.

The survey was conducted by Chesapeake Beach Consulting, usually described as a Republican polling firm, and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, whose past client list includes a very long list of Democratic names. (We got an advance, embargoed copy, which we've embedded at the end of this post.) The pollsters talked to 604 registered voters in the week of February 6-11, with the margin of sampling error is listed as +/- 3.99 percent and a 95 percent confidence level.

The pollsters found "broad and deep" support for providing access to family planning services and birth control for low-income women. Those viewpoints cross "political, racial, generational, and geographic lines."

"Moreover," they add, "strong support exists for access to birth control among religiously observant Texans, including both Catholics and Protestants, as well as born-again Christians."

Well, strong-ish, anyway. In spots. With some still-significant differences of opinion across party, religious and demographic lines.

For example: Around two-thirds of the people polled (68 percent) said access to family planning and birth control is either "extremely important" or "very important." Ninety-five percent of Democrats felt that way, compared with just 50 percent of Republicans. The pollsters also broke the responses out into a few different (but all Christian) religious groups: 68 percent of Catholics said family planning access was important, for example, compared with 60 percent of people who describe themselves as born-again.

But the wording of that question doesn't get at where respondents think the funding ought to come from, which is the real issue. The report claims that a "strong majority" of voters opposed the 2011 legislative cuts to family planning. But "strong majority" actually means 57 percent (including 49 percent of the Republicans polled). Democratic women were the most likely to oppose the cuts (84 percent). Fifty-four percent of voters want that lost funding to be restored. Overall, though, 73 percent of the people polled did say they supported state-funding for family planning services for low-income women, including birth control.

As for providers who receive state funding to provide women's healthcare, the survey found that 56 percent of voters "believe that providers receiving
state funding for women's health care and family planning must offer a full range of birth control options for women." Fifty-four percent favored a requirement that any state funding for women's health care and family planning "go only to medical providers that provide access to birth control options like the birth control pill." The report calls these numbers "a majority," which is true, although it's not a particularly resounding one.

There was also a pretty even split on whether employers should be able to deny their employees access to birth control or Plan B based on their religious beliefs. The pollsters found that 56 percent of their respondents thought an employer should have to pay for birth control, while 53 percent thought they should have to cover Plan B.

The conclusion that TFN's pollsters reached is pretty rosy. "Texas voters -- regardless of political or religious affiliation or racial background -- agree on the importance of ensuring Texas women have access to family planning and birth control," they write. "Voters support family planning policies that ensure that Texas women, not government or employers, can decide for themselves and have access to the family planning services and birth control they choose."

"Politicians who want to interfere with the freedom of women to make decisions about their own health and when to have children are clearly out of step with the majority of Texans," TFN President Kathy Miller said in a press release issued this afternoon. "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.

In reality, though, the survey seems to reveal a few other things: that while two-thirds of Texans might theoretically favor access to birth control and family planning, only a slim majority actually want the state to restore the funding necessary to pay for it. And Texans are still deeply divided, too, on whether an employer should be obligated to pay for birth control or emergency contraception. Somehow, all of this doesn't quite feel like enough to put on a pill-studded party hat and deck the halls with IUDs just yet.

Texas Freedom Network Birth Control & Family Planning Surveyed by



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23 comments
cindywatts
cindywatts

HELLO!  Women have access to birth control every day.  Has everyone forgotten that anyone can buy a condom?  

Birth control is very different than having access to abortion as a form of birth control.  There are many who still use this as such.    Don't close your eyes to such an important issue.

There are still many people who personally do not believe in something that the government is trying to make them pay for others to have access to.  THAT IS WRONG! 

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Founded in 1995, the Texas Freedom Network is based in Austin. The Texas Freedom Network acts as the state’s watchdog, monitoring far-right issues, organizations, money and leaders. The organization has been instrumental in defeating initiatives backed by the religious right in Texas, including private school vouchers and textbook censorship at the Texas State Board of Education. - from their website

Nik Shah
Nik Shah

Communism: the undisputed purveyor of choice.

Ambelleina Warwillow
Ambelleina Warwillow

Are there seriously people who DON'T think all women should have access to birth control? Dumb.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

Yeah, we MUST have the state paying for it, because how else are they going to scrape up $12 a month...

I think that the number of people who are "against" birth control are about the same as the number of people who think that abortions should be frequent and happen all the way up to the first breath.

Don North
Don North

BULLSHIT says a leftist group ROMFLAO good one DO keep moving to communism

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

"about two-thirds of Texans think all women in the state deserve access to birth control and family planning, regardless of income level."

We think that way because they already do.


observist
observist topcommenter

In other news, a majority of Texans dismiss evolution as the seductive words of Satan.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

The Texas Freedom Network (TFN) was formed in 1996 by Cecile Richards.  Cecile Richards is a Democratic Party activist and has been the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America since early 2006.

HangTheTexan
HangTheTexan

@everlastingphelps Am I correct that you do not think government-funded health care should pay towards female reproductive medicines which among things combat uterine cysts; stabilize estrogen levels, as well as prevent unnecessary pregnancies? Why would you be opposed to the group helping to look out for its member's health? If that is the case that you are opposed, do you also vocally oppose these same government-funded heath providers paying costs of male related reproductive medicines such as Viagra?

lolotehe
lolotehe

@everlastingphelps I think we have a common ground here. I'd rather pay the $12 a month than however much the birth and care would cost.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@HangTheTexan if birth control were limited to those cases it would be far lower.  It also has been cited as being carcinogenic and can really cause issues for women that too many endure.  I believe we should have national health care, but the facts is the facts.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@holmantx @scottindallas sometimes, but just the source isn't enough.  Groups like this may or may not be using legitimate means, and their interpretation of that data is again more open to question.  But, it's frankly these sorts of data gathering operations that give some insight as to the earnestness of the group.  


Again, an ad hominem concern might well set off alarm bells, but that's it.  You must address the factual claims lest you be left in fallacy land. 

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@HangTheTexan @everlastingphelps I think that the mosquito spraying was a bad idea in and of itself (especially the aerial part) so that's a bad example.  IF it actually worked, it would be a good example of the sort of "general welfare" things that the state should handle -- things where you get a benefit from it whether you want to or not (same as defense.)

As for sewage and waste water, I think that the service fee structure we have now is sufficiently non-onerous.  There may be better systems out there that take individual freedom more into account, but there are certainly bigger fish to fry on the civil liberties front. 

On the other hand, a massive, wasteful, burdensome medical boondoggle that kills jobs, erodes freedom, gives the government veto power over medical decisions, and serves up a giant opportunity for fraud and graft?  That's a pressing issue.

HangTheTexan
HangTheTexan

 @everlastingphelps @HangTheTexan So your answer is no; okay, I can accept that. I take it that you do not believe in sharing responsibilities and costs in any way for the general public health? So you oppose things like mosquito spraying, sewage disposal and waste-water reclamation, too? I am quite serious; please do not consider this a harangue against you. What DO you believe is a sensible way for our democratic union to protect itself via taxation and spending on behalf of the public it is charged to represent? As to charities, they are very good as you point out, however, they are highly selective and really cannot manage the affairs for which government, however awry it sometimes goes, is designed to provide. Thanks again. You are very smart man. ~ / ~

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@HangTheTexan In a just, compassionate society, there are charities that handle that on a voluntary basis.  I WAS the child of indigent parents, I can tell you from first-hand experience that everything the government touches turns to shit.  The indigent get nothing but scraps from the government, after all the money and real help has been squandered, wasted, and embezzled by various incompetents and grifters.

If you really wanted to help the poor with their medical problems, you would be campaigning to get the government out of the business entirely and support charities like the Shriners.

HangTheTexan
HangTheTexan

@everlastingphelps @HangTheTexan By the group, Mr. Phelps, I mean all of us fellow citizens whether in a city, county, state, or federal union. For instance, to ensure our health, the 'group' in Dallas, recently sprayed for mosquitoes to combat West Nile virus thus ensuring perhaps that lives would be saved and insurance related expenses whether paid for by the individual or a governmental entity would be less. I do not see why if I contribute to a common pool which also happens to insure both you and my health and its attendant expenses, that spread the risk contribution somehow would give you or me rights to make the other's medical decisions. Why do you suggest it would? Also, the children of indigent parents, do they not deserve in a just, compassionate society some form of social protection from unanticipated medical emergencies? Thank-you. ~ / ~ 

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@HangTheTexan @everlastingphelps What "group" are you talking about?  The People?  As in, me and you?  

Do I have a role in buying your insurance?  No.  No, I don't, unless you want me making all your medical decisions, which you don't.

HangTheTexan
HangTheTexan

@everlastingphelps @HangTheTexan So you think the group has no role whatsoever in ensuring and insuring the health of its individuals under any circumstances? Is that your position, Mr. Phleps? I am trying to intuit your general social-political-economic philosophy after months of patiently reading your commentaries.

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