Senator Feinstein has long been a champion of access to affordable, quality health coverage. She strongly supports a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her health. She has also been a leader in pushing for stronger consumer protections regarding chemicals that impact our health, in areas ranging from children’s toys to personal care products.
Protecting the Affordable Care Act
- Senator Feinstein has consistently voted against efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. She voted in favor of the law and continues to fight back against efforts to take away coverage and protections for consumers. She will continue to work with her colleagues to improve the law, rather than dismantle it.
- During the summer of 2017, Senator Feinstein was very vocal in her opposition to repealing the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans attempted no less than four times. Senator Feinstein rallied support for the bill in California and spoke frequently about how important the bill is, not only for the millions who receive health coverage because of it, but also for its support of Medicaid and the many programs its supports.
- On July 27, 2017, Senator Feinstein released a statement in reaction to the final Republican attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Excerpt:
“This failed vote on the latest Republican bill should finally break the fever and convince every senator that the only path forward on health care is to scrap their repeal efforts and work with Democrats in an open process to improve the Affordable Care Act.”
Protecting reproductive health decisions
Senator Feinstein strongly supports a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her health. This includes access to abortion care and contraception.
- Protecting young women’s access to reproductive health care
- Senator Feinstein opposed the Child Custody Protection Act, legislation that would have imposed criminal penalties on those, including family members like grandmothers and sisters, who helped a minor cross state lines to access the abortion care she needs, if she did not satisfy the parental involvement requirements of the state where she lives. (2006 and again in 2013)
- As Senator Feinstein said at the time, “My primary concern with this legislation is that it unnecessarily puts minors’ health and wellbeing in danger. In addition, the language is so broadly written that it has the effect of harshly punishing those adult family members and loved ones who try to help a young woman in a time of need.”
- Safeguarding a woman’s right to choose
- Senator Feinstein has opposed efforts to restrict abortion access that violates Roe v. Wade. This includes voting against the 20-week abortion ban when the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act was on the floor of the Senate. (2015)
- Senator Feinstein also voted to allow Washington, D.C., to use its own tax revenue to fund abortions for low income women and she voted in favor of federal funding of abortions for women on Medicaid in certain circumstances.
- Senator Feinstein has repeatedly voted against legislation instating a partial-birth abortion ban, which restricts the medical techniques doctors are allowed to use when performing abortions. (1995, 1997, 2000, 2003)
- Amicus briefs supporting a woman’s right to choose
- Senator Feinstein joined an amicus brief in Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Family Planning and Preventative Health Services v. Smith signed by 25 senators in support of Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid provider and objecting to their removal by Texas from the state’s Medicaid plan because of the state’s objection to abortion care. (2017)
- Senator Feinstein joined an amicus brief in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt signed by 39 senators opposing the undue burden Texas law had placed women’s access to abortion, in violation of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The U.S. Supreme Court did strike down Texas’ burdensome law restricting women’s access to abortion. (2016)
- Senator Feinstein joined an amicus brief in Zubik v. Burwell signed by 33 senators in support of contraception coverage as a preventive health service for women, as provided by the Affordable Care Act, and that existing accommodations for religiously-affiliated employers were appropriately balanced. The Supreme Court ruled to send the compilation of cases back to lower courts. The Trump administration has greatly expanded the ability of any organization or business to exempt itself from these requirements. (2016)
- Ensuring the safety of women and health care providers
- Senator Feinstein supported the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (Public Law No: 103-259). This law makes it a federal crime to use force, the threat of force, or physical obstruction to prevent a person form obtaining or providing reproductive health care. This law has been critical in responding to clinic violence and in discouraging patients from receiving the care they need. (1994)
- Protecting access to contraception
- Senator Feinstein has supported and defended access to contraception without a copay. (2010, 2012, 2014, 2017)
- Protecting a patient’s right to choose her own health care provider
- Senator Feinstein consistently votes against attempts to block funding and patient access to Planned Parenthood (2011, 2015, 2016, 2017)
- As co-chair of the Senate Cancer Coalition, Senator Feinstein has worked to raise awareness, improve treatment and increase research on cancer and other diseases. She has consistently supported increased funding for cancer research.
- Senator Feinstein has sponsored several resolutions over the past decade to recognize May as National Cancer Research Month, all of which passed the Senate unanimously.
- Senator Feinstein led a bipartisan letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services with 44 of her colleagues, urging Medicare to expedite the process for allowing coverage of low-dose computed tomography (CT) scans to detect lung cancer earlier, which became available for Medicare patients. (2014)
- Senator Feinstein worked with her colleagues to enhance the research focus on deadly cancers, which led to an improved emphasis and strategy for research of top deadly cancers, including lung cancer. Senator Feinstein was the sponsor of the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act, components of which were included in the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act. (2013)
- Senator Feinstein supported the Women's Health Research and Prevention Amendments (Public Law No: 105-340), which supports women’s health research at the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (1998)