Young Republicans think affordable birth control is great -- they just don't think it's basic healthcare

Study shows two-thirds of conservative millennials favor contraceptive access. But they also agree with Hobby Lobby

Published March 31, 2015 7:55PM (EDT)

  (<a href=''>JPC-PROD</a> via <a href=''>Shutterstock</a>)
(JPC-PROD via Shutterstock)

It might be time to start a #NotAllRepublicans hashtag when it comes to the issue of contraceptive access. According to findings released on Tuesday by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, an overwhelming two-thirds of young Republicans say they support affordable birth control, with a rationale that is, well, strikingly Republican.

Viewing contraceptive use as a form of personal responsibility, a majority of conservative millennials polled said they view birth control favorably -- and nearly half even said they supported the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate. While 60 percent of the 18- to 34-year-old respondents said they viewed the ACA unfavorably, nearly as many young Republican women, in particular, said they believe birth control should be treated the same way as any other preventative healthcare service.

Interestingly, though, 55 percent of young Republican women also said they agreed with the Supreme Court's decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, and asserted that employers should be able to dictate which forms of contraception it will cover -- which would seem to contradict the view that birth control is basic healthcare.

"Young Republicans don't leave their ideology behind when thinking about expanding contraceptive access, and they certainly favor limited government," report author Kristen Soltis Anderson said in a statement. "However, within that context, they want to know how to make sure that the most effective methods of birth control are available to those who want them."

Anderson and her colleagues also found that young Republicans view some forms of birth control more favorably than others, with oral contraception being the most popular; in fact, 45 percent of respondents supported over-the-counter oral contraception. Emergency contraception, such as Plan B, was viewed least favorably -- yes, even less so than the supposedly abortion-inducing IUDs Hobby Lobby is so loathe to offer its employees. According to one study participant, EC is "an uh-oh, let me fix my mistake real quick" option, which I guess isn't associated with personal responsibility.

Overall, the responses are heartening, and indicate that even if Republicans don't accept birth control as basic healthcare, younger generations might be able to come up with an ideological justification for giving people the tools they need to make autonomous decisions about their own lives. Because even if a majority of millennial Republicans see birth control as "a personal convenience," they still see it as a responsible option that more people should use.

By Jenny Kutner

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