WASHINGTON — The Senate has rejected an effort to stiffen abortion restrictions in the health care bill.
The vote was 54 to 45.
Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah wanted to ban any insurance plan that gets taxpayer dollars from offering abortion coverage. The stronger restrictions mirrored provisions in the House-passed health care bill.
The Senate bill currently allows insurance plans to cover abortions but tries to separate private funds from federal money. It specifies that abortion coverage can only be paid for with private dollars.
Majority Leader Harry Reid said the legislation is about access to health care, not abortion.