The Senate rejected attempts to terminate the nation's family planning program during debate on the fiscal 1989 Health and Human Services spending bill, traditionally a lightning rod for controversy.
The massive $137 billion bill, which also contains money for the departments of labor and education, is attracting amendments on subjects from Medicaid abortions to pension fund terminations.President Reagan has said he would veto the entire bill based on a Senate provision permitting Medicaid funds for abortions where pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. Current law permits payments only where the life of the mother is endangered.
Reagan also opposes a Senate provision imposing a one-year moratorium on companies cashing out overfunded pension plans. Hundreds of companies have dipped into their plans and labor leaders say the money is often used for mergers or other business moves not in workers' interests.
Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., lost attempts Monday to eliminate the $140 million, Title X family planning program and to require unmarried minors seeking contraceptives from federally funded clinics to have written parental consent.
The Senate voted 65-21 against getting rid of Title X and 54-34 against the parental consent proposal.
In other action Monday on the labor-HHS spending bill, the Senate approved by voice vote an abortion "conscience clause" sponsored by Sen. Gordon Humphrey, R-N.H.