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U.S. Congress Must Stop ‘Ideological Pandering’ On Zika Funding, Uphold Women’s Reproductive Rights

TIME: Women and Children Are Political Pawns In the Zika Funding Battle
Abigail R.A. Aiken, assistant professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and faculty associate at the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin, and James Trussell, professor and emeritus at the Office of Population Research at Princeton University and honorary fellow of the University of Edinburgh

“…Without funding to provide timely access to contraception, advisories from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to delay or carefully plan pregnancy are meaningless. Such hollow advisories may also have the unintended consequence of harming women rather than helping them. Our study, published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, revealed the [negative] consequences of official advisories against pregnancy on Latin-American women who were already pregnant or unable to avoid pregnancy. … [T]he Zika crisis brings the issue of reproductive rights sharply into focus. At the heart of Congress’s failure to ensure equitable access to contraception and abortion is a craven political choice: that reproductive autonomy and individual liberty matter less than ideological pandering. This posturing must stop. With such high stakes, those with the power to make public policy that places women in control of their own reproductive decisions must ensure safe, legal, and accessible reproductive choices” (7/5).