Conservative lawmakers in states like Texas and Florida, who have spent many years swatting at reproductive rights like so many pesky mosquitos, may have now opened the door for a mosquito-borne public health disaster.
A new article in Kaiser Health News lays out the facts that the very states where the Zika virus is expected to hit first and hardest–Florida and Texas–are among the least prepared to deal with the outbreak. And the blame lies squarely on the decimation of women’s health services that has been caused by crusades in those states against abortion rights.
The Zika virus has relatively mild symptoms for adults but can cause severe birth defects if it infects a pregnant woman. At the beginning of the year, LPJL reported that the reaction of socially conservative and backward Third World regimes to the Zika epidemic did not bode well for what would happen when the virus hits places in the US with socially conservative and backward regimes… like Florida and Texas.
Years of right wing pandering to anti-abortion crusaders has created a perfect storm of conditions ripe to allow the Zika virus to cause thousands of preventable birth defects. Congressional conservatives have been painfully slow to provide funding to battle the crisis. And the situation in the Zika beachhead states of Florida and Texas is dire.
In Texas especially, TRAP laws have shut half the women’s clinics in the state. Those clinics are vital sources of information and resources for birth control, which is the number one way of preventing Zika-caused birth defects. And, of course, the entire concept of birth control has been under constant attack from the American mullahs.
The clinic closures, along with chronic underfunding for women’s healthcare, prevent many women from obtaining vital pre-natal care which could help to stop the spread of Zika. Finally, the Republican mania for destroying Obamacare has caused many state governments to turn down expanded Medicaid funds, leaving many low-income women needlessly without recourse to health care
It goes without saying that the biggest victims in the path of this perfect storm are poor and minority women who rely more heavily on the very reproductive resources that conservatives have been so ruthlessly plundering.
Urge our leaders to battle Zika in the most effective manner–by funding and supporting quality reproductive care. Don’t let anti-choice ignorance cause even more damage than it’s already designed to do.