Senate Rejects Bill to Deny Millions of Women Health Care Coverage

(PRESS RELEASE) Today, the U.S. Senate rejected a sweeping ban on insurance coverage of abortion that would have devastated access to reproductive healthcare for millions of women. Failing the 60 vote threshold, the 48-47 procedural vote on S. 109 came just days before the 46th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision on January 22.

The bill would have expanded and made permanent the discriminatory Hyde Amendment, an annual appropriations rider that blocks abortion coverage from those who receive health care or insurance through the federal government, such as active duty servicemembers, veterans, and federal government employees, except in extremely limited circumstances—a move that would have ripple effects through the insurance market and threaten access to abortion care for millions of women.

“Instead of bringing forward a vote to end the government shutdown, the Senate once again engaged in the offensive, antiquated, and frankly embarrassing exercise of playing politics with women’s healthcare,” said Susan Inman, chief counsel for federal policy and advocacy at the Center for Reproductive Rights. “They knew this vote would fail, because it’s not what the majority of the population wants, but they did it anyway. We applaud those who voted against the bill for recognizing that our lawmakers should be protecting and expanding access to healthcare, not taking away coverage and pushing healthcare further out of reach for many more.” 

In addition to doubling down on the harmful Hyde Amendment, the bill singles out coverage for abortion care in the private market by prohibiting tax credits from being used to help purchase insurance in the individual market, thus disincentivizing private insurance companies from offering plans that cover abortion care, including those who offer employer-sponsored plans. It also punishes small businesses that provide their employees with plans that cover abortion by denying them the Small Business Tax Credit, and could force multi-state plans to exclude abortion coverage – effectively banning private insurance from offering plans with abortion coverage. Coupled with existing restrictions, this measure would drive safe and legal abortion out of reach for millions more women.

The Center for Reproductive Rights is proud to be a part of a bold campaign, All* Above All, created to build support for lifting bans on abortion coverage that disproportionally harm low-income women and communities of color. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Kelly Krause; kkrause@reprorights.org; 917 637 3649