U.S. health officials have now confirmed that exposure to the Zika virus during pregnancy can cause severe brain birth defects. But so far the Republican-led Congress has refused to approve President Obama's request to set aside emergency Zika funding.
According to the Washington Post, once U.S. health officials confirmed the connection between the Zika virus and microcephaly (along with other birth defects), Republicans finally conceded that some of the $1.9 billion Obama requested in February was justified. But House Speaker Paul Ryan's office reportedly blamed the White House for holding up the approval by not responding to their request for details on spending.
The White House claimed it had indeed sent a detailed response to Ryan's office, which now acknowledges it received the response but claims it was insufficient.
In addition to microcephaly, Zika can also cause other severe brain and neurological damage in children born to infected mothers — including temporary paralysis. The World Health Organization has declared the virus a public health emergency of international concern, and the virus will likely "continue to spread to new areas."
We are facing a potential health crisis that is far too serious for Republicans to be playing political ping-pong with the White House. Sign this petition and tell Congress to approve emergency funding for Zika.
Dear Members of Congress:
As someone concerned about the devastating and long-term effects from complications related to the Zika virus I am writing to ask you to take these concerns under serious consideration and approve the funding needed to prevent or ameliorate this impending crisis.
With the World Health Organization's declaration of a public health emergency of international concern regarding the Zika virus, there should be no further delay in granting sufficient funding to help the U.S. protect its citizens from this potential public health crisis.
The CDC has provided a number of recommendations to deal with Zika-related pre and post-natal health problems and also to prevent pregnant women and other women of child-bearing age from contracting the virus, including blood tests and additional ultrasounds for women who've been exposed or infected and ways to avoid being bitten by the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry the virus.
Public outreach and education and assistance for low-income pregnant women are also a significant part of this plan.
Instead of accusing the President of overestimating the cost of funding needed to prevent what could amount to a healthcare crisis with long-term, costly repercussions, Congress should consider CDC's recommendations and act in the best interest of the people whom it is supposed to be representing.
[your comment here]
I request that Congress stop stalling on this urgent issue and immediately approve emergency funding for Zika.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.