The Corner

Zika Funding Bill Blocked Again by Senate Democrats over Planned Parenthood

In the Senate’s first vote after reconvening from August recess yesterday, Senate Democrats once again blocked the bill that would direct federal funds toward Zika-virus treatment and prevention. This is the third time that Democrats have voted against the bill, claiming that Senate Republicans will harm women’s health by excluding Planned Parenthood from the bill’s funding.

But as National Review reported early last month, nothing in the bill “attacks” Planned Parenthood or denies women necessary treatment. In reality, the Senate Democrats are refusing to pass the bill until Republicans add an earmark specifically designating a portion of the public-health funding — just one small aspect of the overall funding bill, most of which would focus on vaccine research and mosquito prevention — to Planned Parenthood.

In fact, according to the Daily Signal, Planned Parenthood clinics are not fully equipped to handle all of the possible complications that arise when a pregnant woman contracts the Zika virus. The federal health centers that would receive funding under the bill appear much more qualified to do so. But Democrats continue to mischaracterize the issue, repeatedly claiming that Republicans are putting their opposition to abortion ahead of the health of women and children. From Senate minority leader Harry Reid’s remarks on the Senate floor yesterday:

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. 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.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell disagreed, blaming the stalemate on “partisan excuses” given by Senate Democrats. “It’s hard to explain why, despite their own calls for funding,” he said, “Senate Democrats decided to block a bill that would keep pregnant women and babies safer from Zika.”

Democrats argue that Planned Parenthood should receive funds from the bill to provide birth-control and abortion “services” because of the link between Zika and the birth defect of microcephaly. Yet this link is not nearly as conclusive as experts originally believed. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine surveyed 12,000 pregnant women in Colombia infected with the Zika virus and found that not a single one of them gave birth to a baby with microcephaly. The study, though still only preliminary, casts doubt on the initial hypothesis that the Zika virus itself is the cause of the escalating number of infant microcephaly cases. According to some scientists, there is strong evidence that the pesticide pyriproxyfen, used extensively in mosquito prevention, is actually the source of increasing microcephaly rates in areas afflicted with the virus.

Given the scientific uncertainty about the link between the Zika virus and infant microcephaly, it is absurd for Planned Parenthood and Democrats to insist upon earmarked funds being given to the abortion giant. At the very least, Senate Democrats should be honest about the fact that they are continuing to put their allegiance to “abortion rights” ahead of the health of mothers and children.

Most Popular

Film & TV

A Sad Finale

Spoilers Ahead. Look, I share David’s love of Game of Thrones. But I thought the finale was largely a bust, for failings David mostly acknowledges in passing (but does not allow to dampen his ardor). The problems with the finale were largely the problems of this entire season. Characters that had been ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Great Misdirection

The House Democrats are frustrated, very frustrated. They’ve gotten themselves entangled in procedural disputes with the Trump administration that no one particularly cares about and that might be litigated for a very long time. A Washington Post report over the weekend spelled out how stymied Democrats ... Read More
World

Australia’s Voters Reject Leftist Ideas

Hell hath no fury greater than left-wingers who lose an election in a surprise upset. Think Brexit in 2016. Think Trump’s victory the same year. Now add Australia. Conservative prime minister Scott Morrison shocked pollsters and pundits alike with his victory on Saturday, and the reaction has been brutal ... Read More
NR Webathon

We’ve Had Bill Barr’s Back

One of the more dismaying features of the national political debate lately is how casually and cynically Attorney General Bill Barr has been smeared. He is routinely compared to Roy Cohn on a cable-TV program that prides itself on assembling the most thoughtful and plugged-in political analysts and ... Read More