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Opinion Pieces Encourage Congress To Act On Zika Response Plan

Los Angeles Times: The Zika crisis: How Congress abandoned its duty to govern
Michael Hiltzik, columnist

“…It’s tempting to blame Republicans and Democrats equally for the [Zika funding] impasse, but that’s not what the facts dictate. … The GOP majorities in the House and Senate have saddled Zika funding bills with riders they know are unacceptable to Democrats. Some would roll back long-standing environmental programs, others bar funding for affiliates of Planned Parenthood … The latter stunt is especially cynical, since the public health services provided to women by Planned Parenthood are especially crucial now, when a medical threat with particularly acute consequences to pregnant women is on the rise. … It seems obvious that the congressional majority is comfortable putting off a Zika bill indefinitely, because to most Americans the threat still seems an abstract one. … [T]he guilty parties will be easy to identify. They’ll be the ones whose answer to a public health crisis was to make hostages out of environmental safety and women’s health” (7/13).

STAT: Stop using the Zika virus to attack Planned Parenthood
Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund

“…[T]he weak Zika-response plan proposed by Republicans in Congress would endanger those who are most vulnerable to this epidemic — pregnant women and their developing babies. … As Republicans in Congress have done before, [proposed legislation for the U.S. Zika response] puts politics before science and excludes critical reproductive health organizations that are uniquely suited to address the Zika crisis. … In a public health emergency, it is illogical and unethical to prevent the people and organizations who are best qualified to help, and who are already making a difference, from doing more. … Congress must step up now to defend the women and families counting on them to address and prevent this public health crisis while there is still a window to do so. Republicans’ political games will mean loss and heartache to families in the U.S. and around the globe” (7/14).

The Hill: The Congress of public health
Leana Wen, commissioner of health in Baltimore City

“This week, Congress has an unprecedented opportunity to use public health to transform the nation’s future. … This week, Congress can follow the principles of public health to prevent illness, mitigate harm, and treat diseases that will save millions of lives. They can go beyond the national outcry following recent events to prevent bullets from taking lives and wreaking tragedy. They can invest in the security and economic future of our country by stopping the impending scourge of Zika that would otherwise affect generations of our children yet unborn. They can channel our national angst about addiction into a sound plan to treat patients with urgency, rigor, and humanity. Congress, you have three critical decisions this week with one thing in common. Be on the right side of history. Don’t fail the public’s health” (7/13).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.