Conservatives are expressing some concern after a Democrat from Colorado tried to capture one positive aspect of the Zika Virus. Democratic Representative Diana DeGette of Colorado, suggested Zika might help “shine a light” on abortions, and thereby remove some of the social stigma associated with the practice.
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“Maybe the Zika epidemic and its implications for pregnant women will help us shine a light on the exactly tragic situation in which you have these abortions,” said the co-chairman of the House Pro-Choice Caucus.
Zika originated in South America, and has slowly been migrating north. There have been confirmed cases in Miami, and now in Tampa, Florida–showing that the infected mosquitoes that transmit the disease to humans are moving north.
The disease is dangerous to anyone, but can have disastrous consequences for pregnant women and their unborn children. The most shocking effects are microcephaly.
The conversation about abortions often includes caveats for children who will be born with unavoidable birth defects. This doesn’t change how many on the religious right sees the practice of abortion. Even some notable political figures like Marco Rubio, the Republican senator from Florida, are encouraging women who are known to be infected with Zika to chose life.
Could this actually be the catalyst that de-stigmatizes late term abortions? Polls show that Americans’ support for abortions decreases significantly as the gestation period lengthens. Once women are past 20 weeks, the support almost vanishes. Yet women with Zika may need to wait that long, or longer, to determine the effects the disease will have on their children.
With the threat posed by the disease in mind, many conservatives are concerned by the lack of funding anti-Zika efforts are receiving. This summer, democrats blocked a GOP bill that could have added $1.1 billion to the research, all becasue of an issue with access to contraception.