Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Votes Down Several Amendments that Would Limit Women’s Access to Health Care

capcritlogo150During the extensive deliberation of health care reform legislation by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, the Committee defeated several anti-reproductive health amendments that if passed would have limited access to reproductive healthcare. These included amendments from Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) who attempted to ban any federal funds for legal abortion services or to any health plans that provide abortions as part of their coverage; Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) who tried to protect states from any federal mandate requiring health plans to cover abortion; and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) who failed to undermine confidentiality protections for minors and expand existing provider refusal protections. Additionally, the HELP Committee passed a Women’s Health Amendment by a 12 – 11 vote. Introduced by Senators Barbara Mikulski, Patty Murray, Sherrod Brown, Tom Harkin, and Chris Dodd, the amendment requires health plans to contract with essential community providers, including family planning providers, who predominantly serve low-income and medically-underserved individuals.

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