The Zika virus has caused panic in Latin American countries. Widespread concerns are affecting an already troubled Summer Olympics before they’ve begun, and turned athletes, spectators, and media personalities away from the games in Rio.
However, that’s far from the real tragedy.
The scariest thing about Zika is what it can do to a woman and her pregnancy. The virus, which is spread by mosquitoes or through sexual transmission, can cause an unborn child to develop microcephaly – a neurological condition that causes abnormal brain development, a smaller head, and a lifetime of health and physical problems. It is a devastating diagnosis to receive.
Because of this threat, abortions have drastically increased in some Latin American countries, even those which outlaw the life-ending procedure. BBC reports:
Fears over the Zika virus have contributed to a “huge” increase in the number of women in Latin America wanting abortions, researchers say.
Estimates suggest there has been at least a doubling in requests in Brazil and an increase of a third in other countries.
Many governments have advised women not to get pregnant due to the risk of babies being born with tiny brains.
Sixty countries and territories have reported cases of Zika being spread by mosquitoes. More than 1,500 babies have been diagnosed with microcephaly caused by the virus.
One woman from Peru told Women on Web: “I’m very concerned, I’m two months pregnant and in my country Zika has been detected.
“I love children, but I don’t believe it is a wise decision to keep a baby who will suffer. I need an abortion. I don’t know who to turn to. Please help me ASAP.
In the U.S. there have been 820 confirmed Zika cases. So far, each transpired because the infected individual traveled outside of the United States. Though travel-related cases are increasing, with New York and Florida topping that list, there have been no local or mainland incidents reported.
Meanwhile, in Congress, efforts to fund measures to fight Zika have stalled and won’t resume until after the Independence Day recess. Democrats and Republicans are fighting over financing, and disagreement over the role of Planned Parenthood funds. This so-called women’s “health organization” is part of the delay. The Hill reports:
Democrats say one of their biggest concerns about the bill — and one that would be expected to prompt a White House veto — is that Republicans are targeting women’s health groups.
“Preventing funding from going to Planned Parenthood? That’s a poison pill,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters Thursday.
Though Democrats claim the Republican version of the Zika funding bill seeks to harm women by steering it clear of Planned Parenthood, the opposite is true. Accountability is a must when discussing health-related funding. Planned Parenthood is outnumbered 20 to 1 by comprehensive women’s healthcare clinics, so the Leftist claim is nothing but a fog of fear. As the New York Times reports:
“Unlike the administration’s request that allowed overly broad authority for federal agencies to use Zika dollars with little accountability, this legislation places tight controls and oversight on spending to ensure that every dollar is being used appropriately,” the statement from the House Appropriations Committee.
Sadly, many unborn lives will be lost abroad as a result of Zika, and things could potentially worsen stateside. Not every infected person is a female of childbearing age, and of the infected individuals who are pregnant, a small number will receive a microcephaly diagnosis. While this may not be comforting to those facing the struggle of a disabled child, abortion is still not the answer.
Democrats in Congress refuse to acknowledge that the majority of women’s healthcare in this country is not related to Planned Parenthood. The best healthcare for women, whether Zika-related or not, remains with clinics providing non-abortive education, prescriptions, and services.