Senate Democrats


Washington, DC — Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today spoke out against Republican efforts to jeopardize access to affordable and effective prescription contraception for millions of women, criticizing the Bush/Enzi bill currently under debate in the U.S. Senate for slashing away state health care guarantees.

The United States has the highest rate of unintended pregnancies among all industrialized nations. Half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended, and almost half of these end in abortion. Most of these unintended pregnancies–and the resulting abortions–can be prevented if we eliminate the barriers that prevent women from having access to affordable and effective contraception. Unfortunately, Republicans in the Senate are pushing the Bush/Enzi bill, a plan that would actually jeopardize access to affordable and effective prescription contraception for millions of women.

“The Bush/Enzi bill would threaten access to affordable prescription contraception for millions of women. If we as a nation are truly committed to finding common-ground, common-sense solutions that would reduce the rate of unintended pregnancies and abortions, then we should be expanding access to prescription contraception, not limiting it,” said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid. “If Bush Republicans have their way, millions of women will have to make a choice between going without effective prescription contraception and struggling to pay for it out of pocket, something many will be unable to do. That’s unfair to women, and that’s just bad policy.”

“We believe deeply that we can do better than we’re doing in our country when it comes to preventing unintended pregnancies and helping to support mothers and children. In order to decrease the number of unintended pregnancies and to decrease the number of abortions we must make contraception more accessible and more affordable. We are calling on our colleagues to work with us to put prevention first,” said Senator Clinton.

The Bush/Enzi bill slashes away state guarantees for medical coverage, putting Americans’ access to services like cancer screenings at risk. Democrats have a better plan. The Durbin/Lincoln bill would give the American people access to the same kind of health coverage options that are available to Members of Congress. Senators Reid and Clinton are also cosponsors of comprehensive legislation, the Prevention First Act, aimed at reducing unintended pregnancies, preventing abortions, and improving women’s health.