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September 29, 2016 / Press Releases

NARAL’s statement on new Zika funding

September 29, 2016

Late last night and at the last minute, Congress passed legislation to fund the fight against Zika in the United States. Finally moving a comprehensive Zika bill forward hardly warrants a pat on the back for anti-choice GOP leadership as their inaction thus far has hurt thousands. After seven months of the GOP’s ideological games, there are more than 20,000 cases of Zika in 49 states, the District of Columbia, and three territories, impacting nearly 2,000 pregnant women.

“Let’s be clear: the GOP’s decision to finally fund the fight against Zika is no win for women,” said Ilyse Hogue, NARAL Pro-Choice America President. “While they played politics, 20,000 people got sick. Plain and simple.

“Yet again, women’s health took a backseat to the GOP’s political agenda and now, seven months later, this bill is simply too little, too late. Instead of working to protect women and families against this growing health threat,  anti-choice Republicans tried to use this legislation to advance their extreme agenda, including restricting funding for family planning clinics at a time when women rely on those clinics the most. They even refuse to support a woman’s right to an abortion if infected with Zika – a stance that’s widely out of step with the majority of Americans.”

The GOP’s obsession with rolling back women’s reproductive rights, especially amid the growing Zika crisis, goes against the support of Americans across party lines. Recent polling conducted by NARAL found that:

  • 85% of battleground voters want Congress to pass a plan to combat Zika that includes support for women’s healthcare clinics.
  • 59% of battleground voters are less likely to support their representative if they learn their representative voted to restrict funding for women’s healthcare during the spread of the Zika virus.
  • 64% of battleground voters are less likely to support their representative if they learn that he or she believes a pregnant woman should not have access to abortion even if she’s infected with Zika and learns her child will be born with severe birth defects.


NARAL Pro-Choice America has been actively educating voters about the impact of GOP inaction on the Zika pandemic. Recently, NARAL launched a series of ads in Florida, Tennessee, and Mississippi and took out ads against Marco Rubio for being out of step with Americans’ public health needs.


Everyone should be able to decide if, when, how, and with whom they start or grow a family.

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