Today, the United States Senate put women’s health ahead of the anti-choice agenda by rejecting efforts to use health care reform to deny women the coverage for abortion services that most now have. The underlying legislation already made clear that federal funds could not be used for abortion services, and the Nelson amendment would have gone well beyond this long-standing prohibition.
This vote was a defeat for those who would cynically use reform to advance the most extreme anti-choice agenda by prohibiting private funds from being used to cover abortion services. The Senate today took a critical step toward making good on its promise that no one will lose the coverage they currently have through health reform.
Reproductive health care is basic health care for women. Congress’ first priority for reform should be building a system that provides high quality, comprehensive, affordable health care for everyone. If we are to seize this opportunity to create a better health care system, we must stop those who would hijack health care reform to advance their ideological agendas. The Senate did that today and the nation is better off as a result.
We will work tirelessly to keep this anti-choice language out of the final reform legislation. We call on President Obama and leaders in both houses to be vigilant in ensuring that any further efforts to add anti-choice provisions are soundly rejected, and that amendments like this one are not included in the final bill. Women and families need high quality, coordinated, affordable health care — and they are counting on policymakers to deliver it.