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Montanans Polled About Birth Control

March 22, 2012

HELENA, Mont. - New polling in Montana and other battleground states shows near consensus, even across party lines, when it comes to support for women's access to birth control. The poll also found similar strong feelings that insurers should cover birth control and that decisions about birth control should be private.

Lindsay Love, communications manager with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Montana, describes the situation.

"This poll serves as a gut check. It's important for us to know where Montanans stand on some basic issues, like access to preventive health care, like birth control."

The poll of likely voters also explored feelings about the Blunt Amendment, which would have allowed any employer to opt out of offering insurance coverage for birth control. Sixty percent of those polled said they opposed that failed amendment. Nearly half said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supported the amendment.

Montana is seen as a battleground state because of the upcoming senate race between incumbent Sen. Jon Tester and challenger Congressman Denny Rehberg. Tester voted against the Blunt Amendment, while Rehberg recently co-sponsored legislation to allow corporations or health plans to refuse to cover any health care service they object to, such as birth control or even certain cancer screenings, Love explains.

"For Montana, which has such a heated political climate centering around Tester and Rehberg, the contrast on this issue, particularly, could not be more clear."

Another poll finding: Two-thirds oppose prohibiting Planned Parenthood from receiving federal money to pay for birth control, maternity care and cancer screenings. Montana was one of eight battleground states polled.

The poll was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research for Planned Parenthood. The polling memo is available at http://gqrr.com/index.php?ID=2717.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MT