A coalition of reproductive rights groups says Florida isn’t doing enough to combat the Zika virus. The Zika virus is now affecting more than one thousand Floridians, and public health officials worry the mosquito-borne and sexually transmitted illness will continue to spread.
Zika is linked to serious developmental issues in fetuses, and poses a particular threat to pregnant women. Floridians for Reproductive Freedom, made up of groups like Planned Parenthood, Eqaulity Florida, and the League of Women Voters, wants the state to move beyond mosquito control, and focus on sex ed, contraception and abortion. Here's spokeswoman Kimberly Diaz.
“We appreciate the fact that we’ve had great attention on mosquito control in this state. But we definitely know that this is a two-pronged approach. There’s multiple ways where we can address the Zika outbreak and we want to make sure that all Floridians are staying healthy and taking care of themselves and preventing them from getting infected with this virus,” Diaz said.
The coalition is criticizing Governor Scott and the Legislature for denying Medicaid funding, a decision spokesman Damien Filer says puts low-income people at a greater risk of contracting Zika.
“What we’re looking for is a collaboration that is less focused on what this governor and legislature for the last several years have been doing, which is to restrict access to reproductive healthcare and rather looking for them to work with us to collaborate so we can expand that access and expand the resources that are available for it,” Filer said.
Currently there is no approved vaccine for the Zika virus, although experimental test are underway.