Between cuts to Planned Parenthood and reduced protections for pre-existing conditions, the GOP's recent attempts at health care reform have put many women in an uneasy position. Opponents of the GOP-proposed system may have felt a sigh of relief earlier this week when Senate Republicans failed to pass their version of the health care bill. But the fight over health care isn't over — and the many women who have taken on health care don't seem inclined to stop anytime soon.
Under the Affordable Care Act, many women were guaranteed coverage for services like STD testing and contraception. The version of health care reform that the Senate tried to pass earlier this week would have given insurance companies the opportunity to offer plans that don't adhere to ACA regulations, putting women potentially at risk of losing benefits. Ultimately, Republican senators didn't secure the majority of votes that they needed to pass their bill. In response, President Trump signaled that Republicans would take a passive approach to health care reform, as he said that Republicans would "let Obamacare fail." Republicans may be scaling back their health care approach, but women opposed to the ACA overhaul will continue to fight for the right coverage.
Sen. Susan Collins
I will vote no on the motion to proceed to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement. I voted against this same proposal in 2015. pic.twitter.com/Szuke5zYNL— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) July 18, 2017
A Republican senator from Maine, Susan Collins was one of the few Republican senators who didn't back the party leadership's plan to repeal the ACA without a replacement. By committing to a "no" vote, Collins helped to block the GOP's plan from moving forward. Collins called for bipartisanship to address health care reform.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski
My recent statement on the Senate Healthcare Process: pic.twitter.com/j19Ok1KwWw— Sen. Lisa Murkowski (@lisamurkowski) July 18, 2017
Like Collins, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, committed to vote "no" on Senate Republicans' plan to repeal Obamacare without a replacement. Murkowski said in a statement that repealing the ACA without a replacement "creates confusion and greater uncertainty." She, too, called for bipartisan work moving forward.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito
My latest statement on the Senate health care bill & planned vote to repeal Obamacare: pic.twitter.com/yAVIxgptCu— Shelley Moore Capito (@SenCapito) July 18, 2017
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia rounded out the Republican opposition to repealing the ACA without a replacement. "I did not come to Washington to hurt people," she said in a statement. Interestingly, Collins, Murkowski, and Capito — as well as all Republican women — were shut out of the closed-door meetings that led to the Senate bill's creation.
Sen. Kamala Harris
The health care fight is not over yet. We have to keep fighting. We have to keep up the pressure. We have to keep calling: (202) 224-3121.— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) July 19, 2017
Across the aisle, Sen. Kamala Harris, a Democrat from California called on supporters to "keep up the pressure" by contacting their senators about health care reform. She's only serving her first term in the Senate, but Harris has made quite a name for herself already. On health care, as with other issues, Harris won't be silenced.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren
It’s time for the @SenateGOP to drop this “health care” bill for good – and do it immediately.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) July 19, 2017
Surely, many (if not all) Democratic lawmakers oppose the Republican strategy for revamping health care. But not to be lost in the shuffle is Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Warren has more experience than Harris, but she has a similar reputation, speaking out boldly for what she believes in.
Hillary Clinton may have lost her official opportunity to lead health care reform last November, but she isn't staying silent. As Republican lawmakers put forth their plans, Clinton plugged a plan of her own. "Feel free to run with it," she told Republicans over Twitter.
Under the House and Senate versions of GOP health care reform, Planned Parenthood would lose funding. As its president, Cecile Richards seems a fitting opponent to Republican health care reform. Like others, Richards has called for her supporters to contact their senators in opposition to the GOP plan.
It's not just lawmakers and leaders who are fighting back. In Ohio, women dressed as characters from The Handmaid's Tale to protest a state bill that would limit abortion access. Similar protests have also occurred elsewhere in recent months, including Texas and Missouri.
The Seattle Storm
On Tuesday, the WNBA's Seattle Storm partnered with Planned Parenthood for the team's home game against the Chicago Sky. The themed game was planned weeks in advance, but it ended up coming at a meaningful time, as the women-owned team supported Planned Parenthood the very week that Republican senators worked to defund the health care organization.
From the front lines of Capitol Hill to the stands of a Seattle arena, women across the country have shown their distaste for attacks on their health care. At the federal level, those attacks have failed so far, but there's little doubt that the debate will continue. As it progresses, women in government and from all walks of life can work together to ensure that health care reform includes their interests.