While concerns about the Zika virus loom throughout the country, legislators continue to block efforts to allocate funds to fight the virus’ spread.
Many Senate Democrats have pushed for increased Zika funding, especially in light of the CDC’s public statements regarding the fact that they simply do not have any funds to put toward Zika prevention efforts.
However, Democrats in the Senate have blocked a Zika funding bill that was proposed by Senate Republicans in response to the funding bill that Republicans refused to pass. However, the Republican bill included some very controversial language.
The bill was rejected on the grounds that it included language that would mean that Planned Parenthood would not receive contraception funding. This is of critical importance because we now know that the Zika virus can be transmitted sexually — so efforts to increase access to contraception are key in controlling the spread of the virus. It also included efforts to target the Clean Water Act and protect the right to fly the Confederate flag.
As the Huffington Post reports,
“Earlier this year, Democrats tried in vain to bring Republicans to the realization that Zika was imperiling the health of all, but especially women of child-bearing age,” Reid added. “Republicans were more interested in attacking Planned Parenthood and flying the Confederate flag ― can’t make that stuff up; that’s really the truth ― than protecting women and babies from this awful virus.”