U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) participated in a roundtable discussion of ideas for protecting women's access to contraception and family planning services on Wednesday. The meeting was hosted by the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee and featured more than a dozen leaders in women's health, including Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America; Nancy Kennan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America; and Alethea Smith-Withers, board chair of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.
"All women should have the right to affordable, accessible reproductive health care," Senator Coons said. "Sadly, many Republicans in Congress insist on creating harmful barriers to keep women from accessing much-needed services. Today's meeting allowed for a productive discussion with leaders of women's health care on how we can move forward to continue to advocate for these critical family planning services."
The hour-long discussion focused on recent destructive initiatives taken by Republicans to block women from accessing basic reproductive health care. In particular, Cecile Richards and Nancy Keenan discussed the important role the Affordable Care Act has played in improving and expanding access to important health services for women, including requiring health insurance plans to cover preventive services such as mammograms and cervical cancer screenings with no deductible or co-pay, and the need to ensure its full implementation. Other participants noted the need to continue to maintaining funding for the Title X program, which supports critical health services to women across the country. House Republicans have fought to eliminate funding for this program, and they have introduced more than 30 bills that would restrict a woman's access to reductive health care.
Senator Coons has been committed to advancing women's health. He has voted against legislation that would have allowed employers to take away preventive health care coverage from millions of women, supported legislation that would prevent women in the military from being denied access to certain health care services, and has consistently urged members of the Senate Appropriations Committee to maintain a commitment to funding the Title X program.
In March, Senator Coons attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Wilmington Veterans Affairs Medical Center that focuses on providing health care tailored to meeting the needs of female veterans, including gynecological care; initial maternity and infertility evaluation and treatment; menopausal and osteoporosis care; women's health cancer screening; and military sexual trauma.