CONTRACEPTIVES + POLICY

THROUGH A GENDER LENS
RESULTS FROM A NATIONAL SURVEY
CONDUCTED BY PERRYUNDEM

MARCH 22, 2017
METHODS.
PerryUndem conducted a representative The survey was administered using NORC’s
survey among n = 1,094 registered AmeriSpeak panel at the University of
voters nationwide. The sample reflects Chicago.
the voting population at large, including
by party identification. AmeriSpeak uses a probability-based
sampling frame that covers 97% of US
The survey was fielded March 2 through households.
6, 2017.
Participants can choose to take surveys by
The margin of error for the total results is telephone or online. About eight in ten
+ 4.0 percentage points. The margin of respondents (83%) took the survey online
error is larger for subgroups within the and 17% by telephone.
data.

2
CONTENTS.
+ Summary
+ Impressions of contraceptive use
+ Is birth control considered preventive health care
+ Affordability of out-of-pocket costs
+ Connections between affordable birth control and personal and economic issues
+ Connections between affordable birth control and gender equality
+ Impressions of how gender of lawmakers may affect policies
+ Views toward current policies and lawmakers related to women’s health care

3
SUMMARY.
1. Most voters perceive prescription 3. One third of women voters of reproductive age (33%
birth control as common, but still of those 18 to 44) say they could not pay more than $10
underestimate its use. Voters also guess for birth control if they had to buy it today. One in seven
correctly that unmarried women do not use women (14%) says they could not afford to pay any amount
birth control as higher rates than married for birth control if they needed it today.
women. That said, voters guess that rates
are equal across groups when, in fact,
higher proportions of married women use 4. Majorities of voters make connections between
prescription birth control. access to affordable birth control and economic issues.
Three-quarters of women ages 18 to 44 (76%) and 62% of
voters overall say access to affordable birth control affects
2. Majorities consider birth control part women’s opportunities to be financial stable. About seven in
of preventive health care for women. ten voters (72%) say access to affordable birth control affects
Seventy-five percent of voters consider families’ financial situations. Two-thirds (67%) intuitively say
birth control part of preventive health care access to affordable birth control helps the economy in
for women, including 85% of women voters. general.

4
5. Majorities also link access to affordable birth
control to women’s rights, equality, and sexual
freedom. Close to seven in say access to affordable
birth control is an important part of gender equality
(71%) and affects sexual freedom for women (68%).
Seven in ten women say access affects women’s rights 7. Slightly more than one-third of men (37%) says
and freedoms (71%) as well as women’s happiness they have benefited personally from a woman in
(72%). their life having access to affordable birth control.
About half of men (52%) says they have not personally
benefited.
6. Eight in ten voters (80%) believe women should
be able to have sex for the purpose of pleasure,
without having to worry about getting pregnant.
This is essentially the same proportion of voters (76%)
who say men should be able to have sex for the
purpose of pleasure, without having to worry about
getting someone pregnant.

5
8. Many voters spot disparities in how 10. Twenty-nine percent of women voters and
politicians may view women’s v. men’s 36% of men voters trust President Trump to
health care. Seven in ten voters (71%) say improve women’s access to health care. About
politicians view women’s health care as a one in five women and one in four men trust
political issue, whereas only 25% of voters say Congress or Tom Price to improve access for women.
politicians view men’s health care as a political
issue.
11. Voters say the #1 health care priority for
Congress and President Trump should be
9. Male lawmakers would have different lowering people’s out-of-pocket health care
positions on women’s health care, voters costs. Two-thirds of voters (68%) say this is a top
say, if the biological tables were turned. priority. About the same proportion (65%) says
Respondents were asked to think of a improving access to care should be a top priority for
hypothetical situation in which men were the sex Congress and the President. About one-third (37%)
who got pregnant and gave birth, instead of says repealing the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare
women. They were then asked if they thought should be a top priority.
male lawmakers in Congress and the Trump
administration would still want to get rid of the
birth control benefit. A majority of voters (75%) 12. Voters oppose a number of policy ideas that
say no: if the tables were turned, male officials would disproportionately affect women’s access
would want to keep the benefit. to and costs of health care. These include getting
rid of funds for expanding Medicaid, defunding
Planned Parenthood, and restricting abortion access.

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DETAILED FINDINGS...
7
Most underestimate the use IMPRESSIONS OF
of birth control, but still BIRTH CONTROL USE
ARE IN THE RIGHT Who is most likely to use
perceive it is as commonly
DIRECTION. prescription birth control?
used.
What percent of women in the US will use A majority (78%) of voters perceive Who do you think is more likely to use
birth control in their lifetime? Just your best birth control use as fairly common - prescription birth control:
guess is fine. (Participants selected one of estimating that either 62% or 99%
the four estimates below.) of women will use birth control in
their lifetime. Most, however, do
not choose the correct response.
“23%” 5% 5% estimate that “23%” Unmarried
of women will use birth The same is true about whether women
control in her lifetime 21%
married or unmarried women are
“56%” 17%
more likely to use prescription birth Married
control. Most voters guess that Both women 8%
“62%” 56% rates are probably equal across equally
married and unmarried women - 71%
i.e., that married women are using
“99%” 22% birth control at least as much as
unmarried women. Most do not Correct answer
guess the correct answer, however.

There are no major differences by
Correct answer gender.

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Most voters consider birth control part of
preventive health care for women.
Do you consider birth control part of preventive health care for women, or not?

63%
75% 85%
Yes
Yes Yes

Total Women Men

18 to 44 year old women: 88% yes 45 and older women: 84% yes
18 to 44 year old men: 68% 45 and older men: 60%

9
If you or a loved one needed prescription birth
control today, how much would you be able to pay
for it, today, out-of-pocket? (Open ended question)
Among women voters of reproductive age (18 to 44)
N = 214

One in seven women voters of
reproductive age (14%) says they
14% 8% 11% 15% 27% 18% could not pay anything out of
pocket for birth control if they
$0 - could $1 to $6 to $11 to $20 $21 to $50 $51 or more needed it “today.”
not afford $5 $10
to pay One in three (33%) says they could
anything afford $10 or less.

33% 76%
say they could afford
$10 or less of women voters 18 to 44 say
access to affordable birth control
affects women’s opportunities to
be financial stable.
10
Perceived effects of
access to affordable birth control.

72%
Affects the financial

Survey respondents were asked 69%
Affects stress in
situation of families
70%
Helps my
whether or not they think access to relationships community
affordable birth control has an effect
on personal and family situations, as Access to
well as broader issues such as the affordable birth

62% 67%
wellbeing of communities and the control...
economy.
Affects women’s Helps the
opportunities to be economy
Majorities see connections to these
financially stable
issues.

68%
Affects the wellbeing
of families

In general, does access to affordable birth control have an effect on these
things, or not? Do you think it helps your community when women have
access to affordable birth control? Do you think it helps the economy when
women have access to affordable birth control?

11
By demographics.
Women are more likely to perceive connections
than men, although majorities of men do see HH INCOME $30K-$60K 82%
links. Black and Latino voters are more likely than WOMEN 78%
non-Hispanic white voters to see effects on MEN 65%
women’s finanical opportunities and the economy
in general. Voters in their 20s are most likely to
see an impact on stress in relationships.
72%
Affects the financial

WOMEN 75%
69%
Affects stress in
situation of families
70%
Helps my WOMEN 77%
MEN 63% relationships community MEN 62%

18 TO 29 81% Access to
affordable birth
control...
62%
Affects women’s
67%
Helps the
LATINOS 71% WOMEN 77%
BLACKS 67% opportunities to be economy MEN 56%
NON-HISPANIC WHITES 59% financially stable
BLACKS 83%
WOMEN 67%
MEN 56% 68%
Affects the wellbeing
LATINOS 72%
NON-HISPANIC WHITES 63%

18 TO 44 WOMEN 76% of families
18 TO 44 MEN 56%
WOMEN 75%
MEN 59%
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Do you think women should be able to have sex for the
purpose of pleasure, without having to worry about
getting pregnant, or not?

Should women 18%
NO
Percent no:
Women 18 to 44: 9%
All others: 20%
be able to
have sex for
the purpose
of pleasure,
80%
without
worrying
YES Should men?
About the same proportion -
76% - says men should be able
to have sex for pleasure without

about
worrying about getting
someone pregnant.

pregnancy?

13
TOTAL WOMEN MEN

LINKS TO GENDER EQUALITY
Both men and women voters see links between
71%
is an important part
77% 65%
access to affordable birth control and women’s of equality for women
rights, equality, and freedoms.

68%
Has an effect on
73% 63%
sexual freedom for
women
Access to affordable birth
control...
69%
Has an effect on
72% 65%
women’s
happiness

In general, does access to affordable birth control have an effect on these
things, or not? Is access to affordable birth control an important part of
equality for women, or not? (Very, somewhat, not important, not sure)
65%
Has an effect on
71% 59%
women’s rights and
freedoms as
individuals LATINOS 79%
BLACKS 76%
NON-HISPANIC WHITES 61%
14
Do men see a personal benefit?

Have you benefited personally from any women in
your life having access to affordable birth control?
Among n = 517 men

Does access to affordable birth Refused 3%
control have an effect on... Not
Among n = 517 men sure
9%
Men’s Women’s Yes Most likely to say yes:
happiness? happiness? 37% Men 18 to 44 45%
54% YES 65% YES No
52%
No
52%
Most likely to say no:
Men 60 and older 70%

15
How might gender play a role in
health care policy for women?

Do you think politicians tend to
see WOMEN’S health care as a
political issue, or not?
Here’s a hypothetical situation.
Let’s say men were the sex that got
pregnant and gave birth instead of
Do you think politicians tend women. If men got pregnant, do
to see MEN’S health care as you think men in the new
a political issue, or not? administration and in Congress
71% would still want to get rid of the
birth control benefit, or not?
Yes
25%
Yes
75% say male politicans
would want to keep the birth
control benefit. (81% of women
and 68% of men).
67% of women voters 22% of women voters
75% of men voters
23% say male politicans
28% of men voters

would still want to repeal the
benefit. (16% of women and 31%
of men).

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AMONG WOMEN
(N = 577)
How would you feel if politicians got rid of
the birth control benefit? Try to use one
feeling word. (Open end)
Among women

3 in 10
VIEWS TOWARD POLICYMAKERS

women (29%) trust President
Trump to improve women’s
77%
access to health care. Half
does not trust the President
of women
voters
(52%) and 18% are not sure.

Two in ten (20%) trust HHS
Secretary Tom Price, 42% do
not, and 38% are not sure.
want to
keep the Let’s say your elected official wanted to repeal/get
ACA birth rid of the birth control benefit. Would you be more
or less likely to vote for him or her, or would it not

control make a difference in your vote?
Among women

benefit.
2 in 10
women (19%) trust Congress
to improve women’s access to
health care. Half (51%) does 46% of women say they (17%) or a loved one
not trust Congress and 30% (36%) would be affected if the birth control
are not sure. benefit were eliminated.
12% more likely 62% less likely to vote for
Do you trust [President Trump/Congress/new Secretary of the to vote for (25% say no difference)
Department of Health and Human Services, Tom Price] to
improve women’s access to health care, or not?
17
AMONG MEN
(N = 517)

How would you feel if politicians got rid of
the birth control benefit? Try to use one
feeling word. (Open end)
56% Among men

1 in 3
male voters (36%) trust
of men voters want to
keep the ACA birth
President Trump to improve
women’s access to health
control benefit.
care. Close to half does not
trust the President (47%) and
17% are not sure. Support jumps to 64%
One in four (27%) trust HHS
after hearing that
Secretary Tom Price, 42% do out-of-pocket costs for Let’s say your elected official wanted to repeal/get
not, and 30% are not sure. rid of the birth control benefit. Would you be more
birth control would or less likely to vote for him or her, or would it not
likely increase and the make a difference in your vote?
Among men
cost savings for the
average user now are
about $250/year.
1 in 4
men (26%) trust Congress to 35% of men say they (6%) or a loved
improve women’s access to one (31%) would be affected if the
health care. Half (51%) does birth control benefit were eliminated. 24% more likely 52% less likely to vote for
not and 21% are not sure. to vote for (23% no difference)

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Voters’ top health care priorities for President Trump
and Congress are lowering individuals’ out-of-pocket
costs and improving access to care.

CONSENSUS AMONG Here are some different things President Trump and Congress could work on
A MAJORITY OF THE when it comes to health care. In your view, should this be a top priority,
POPULATION important but not top, not too important, or should not be done?

Lowering the amount individuals pay for health care (68% say top priority)
Improving people’s access to health care (65%)
Lowering the costs of prescriptions (60%)
Repealing the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare (37%)

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REACTIONS TO POLICY PROPOSALS
THAT DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECT
WOMEN’S COSTS AND ACCESS TO CARE

74%
Oppose taking away funds
87%
Want to keep the ACA provision
from Planned Parenthood that prohibits insurance companies
that are used for birth from charging women more for
control, well-woman care, health insurance than men based on
and cancer screenings for their gender
low-income women

CONSENSUS AMONG

63% A MAJORITY OF
VOTERS
84%
Want to keep the ACA provision
Oppose restricting
access to abortion care that requires insurance plans to
cover preventive care, like
well-woman visits, without a co-pay

55%
Oppose banning
83%
67%
Want to keep the ACA provision that
Medicaid coverage for has federal funds available for states
abortion care to expand Medicaid, which mostly
Want to keep the ACA provision
that requires insurance plans to covers women and children
cover birth control without a
co-pay
20
74%
Oppose taking away funds 80% OF WOMEN
87%
90% OF WOMEN Want to keep the ACA provision that
from Planned Parenthood 69% OF MEN
83% OF MEN prohibits insurance companies from
that are used for birth charging women more for health insurance
control, well-woman care, than men based on their gender
and cancer screenings for
low-income women

BY GENDER

63% 84%
91% OF WOMEN Want to keep the ACA provision
Oppose restricting 66% OF WOMEN
76% OF MEN that requires insurance plans to
access to abortion care 60% OF MEN cover preventive care, like
well-woman visits, without a co-pay

55%
Oppose banning 67% 83%
56% OF WOMEN
Medicaid coverage for Want to keep the ACA provision 86% OF WOMEN Want to keep the ACA provision that
53% OF MEN
abortion care that requires insurance plans to 79% OF MEN has federal funds available for states
cover birth control without a to expand Medicaid, which mostly
co-pay covers women and children
77% OF WOMEN
56% OF MEN 21
CONCLUSION.
As elected officials debate another phase of health care We may also be in the midst of a new women’s movement
reform our polling and others’ consistenly show the priority that seems to have erupted since the election. A December
for voters is reducing their out-of-pocket health care costs. 2016 PerryUndem study showed that 57% of women voters
Efforts to increase the amount individuals pay for care, such feel a lack of women in political office affects gender equality
as eliminating the birth control benefit, may face steep and women’s rights. Many say that politicians see women’s
opposition. health care, but not men’s health care, as a political issue. A
large majority also says that male lawmakers would want to
Increasing costs and decreasing access to women’s health keep the birth control benefit if the biological tables were
care may also have serious implications for women across turned and men were the sex that got pregnant. Lorem ipsum
the country. One in three women voters of reproductive age
(18 to 44) could only afford $10 -- at most -- for birth control Time will tell whether women’s health care and policies that
if they needed it today. Majorities of women and men voters affect it will translate into a top voting issue.
see connections between access to affordable birth control
and financial stability, stress in relationships, community FOR MORE INFORMATION:
wellbeing, and fundamental rights and freedoms. TRESA UNDEM
tresa@perryundem.com

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