Poll Finds Majority Back Birth Control; Access Sought without 'Delay'

Article excerpt

Byline: Cheryl Wetzstein, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Americans overwhelmingly support birth control, comprehensive sex education and family planning services, according to a poll released yesterday at a briefing about the new "prevention first" reproductive health strategy.

More than 80 percent of 1,011 adults polled in May say they think birth control should be accessible, that it should be dispensed by pharmacists "without discrimination or delay," and it should be covered by health insurance, said Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners, which conducted the poll.

In addition, 88 percent of adults agreed that public schools should teach sex education that includes information on abstinence and contraception, she said.

This shows that the American people back contraception as a way to reduce disease and unwanted pregnancy, said leaders of the Women Donors Network and Communications Consortium Media Center, who yesterday put up their new Web site, www.birthcontrolwatch.org. That site, as well as the National Council of Jewish Women's new "Plan A" campaign, will offer public education on contraception.

Later in the day, however, pro-choice supporters and their allies were dismayed when the House Appropriations subcommittee on labor, health and human services, education and related agencies voted to increase funding for the Community Based Abstinence Education program (CBAE) by $27.8 million, to $141 million. CBAE funds groups that teach youth how to be sexually abstinent but not how to use birth control.

"There is no other way to describe this concession but as shameful," said William Smith of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. …