Changes in American Opinion about Family Planning

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Abstract

A 1998 public opinion survey conducted in the United States indicated high levels of support for many family planning policies, including US health insurance coverage of family planning services and US sponsorship of family planning programs in developing countries. To gauge changes in opinion on these issues since then, some of the 1998 questions were asked in an omnibus 2003 survey. The results indicate continuing high support for requiring US health insurers to cover family planning services (87 percent in 1998 and 84 percent in 2003), but some loss of support (from 80 to 69 percent) for US sponsorship of family planning programs in developing countries. Opinion remains divided on the policy of prohibiting nongovernmental organizations from receiving federal funding for performing or actively promoting abortion services. The authors explore several possible explanations for these findings, including the role changing presidential policy may have had in shaping opinion regarding family planning aid for developing countries.

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