Population Matters

Millennials: The Reproductive Health Generation

April 1st, 2015

Given the escalating political assaults on family planning, one might easily have assumed that the American voters were softening in their support of contraception and abortion rights. Not so. A new poll released last week demonstrates that America’s up and coming generation, the millennials, are every bit as supportive of reproductive health and rights as their parent’s generation.

According to a new poll released Friday by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute, adults between the ages 18-35 understand the importance of low-cost birth control and support comprehensive sex education. The 2015 Millennials, Sexuality, and Reproductive Health Survey breaks down the views of millennials on a number of topics, ranging from birth control to abortion to sex education. Below are some of the highlights:

Birth Control

Millennials do not see birth control as controversial; only 9% said that using contraception is morally wrong. Six out of ten indicated that access to contraception is critical to the financial security of women. An even greater majority, 81%, favor increasing access to contraception for women who cannot afford it, and nearly 8 out of 10 (82%) believe that insurance should cover prescription contraception. Millennials are also opposed to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, with 58% saying that privately owned corporations should be required to provide employees with health care plans that cover contraception at no cost. While Democrats were more likely to oppose the Supreme Court’s decision (73%), nearly 4 out of 10 Republicans (38%) also opposed the Court’s decision.

Emergency Contraception

55% of millennials are opposed to requiring a prescription in order to obtain emergency contraception and 60% say that emergency contraception should be covered by insurance.


Millennials are also opposed to new abortion restrictions; 55% said that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and 56% opposed making it more difficult for women to obtain an abortion. Millennials, however, are uncomfortable with the traditional “pro-life” and “pro-choice” labels; about a quarter each said they are either “pro-life” or “pro-choice,” and 27% said that both labels describe them equally.

Sex Education

Millennials support effective sex education in the schools, with 67% indicating that emphasizing safe sexual practices and birth control is a better way to prevent unintended pregnancy than teaching abstinence from sex. While 3 out of 4 millennials support teaching comprehensive sex education in schools, 23% of millennials reported that they did not have a sex education class in school, and 37% of those who did have a sex education class indicated that the class was not very helpful to them in making decisions about sex and relationships.

Jennie Wetter, Director of Public Policy

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