The emergence of the Zika virus has refocused the debate on late-term abortions in several U.S. states where the number of cases of pregnant women diagnosed with t,he virus is on the rise.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that by early August the number of pregnant women in the U.S. possibly infected with Zika had risen to 529, a number that is expected to increase. As the number of infected pregnant women has increased, it has focused renewed attention on the issue of late-term abortions. Most of the women infected with the virus are located in Southern states, where several state legislatures have tightened restrictions on mid to late term abortions.
Zika virus passed to unborn child
Zika is a virus that can be passed by the mother to an unborn child. It is spread by mosquito bites and through bodily fluids, such as blood and semen. If a pregnant woman is infected with the Zika virus, it can cause a birth defect called microcephaly and other brain problems for her child.
The Zika virus has relatively little effect on most adults and children. About 80% of those infected have no symptoms and most recover quickly. It is pregnant women, including those affected during the late stages of their pregnancy, that are at the greatest risk.
Majority of Americans are opposed to late-term abortions
Generally, most American believe that abortion should not be permitted after the 24th week of pregnancy. A Harvard University-STAT poll taken in early August revealed that only 23 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be allowed after the 24th week. However, the same poll found that support for a late term abortion increased to 59 percent if the mother is told that her baby has a serious risk of microcephaly. The Supreme Court has ruled that states can impose limits on abortions only after the 23rd week of pregnancy. Some states have banned abortions after the 20th week, and those earlier dates have yet to be challenged in the Supreme Court. Late term abortions are rare in the U.S.
Florida is ground zero for the Zika virus
Sen. Marco Rubio reaffirmed his position that a woman infected with the Zika virus should not have the right to an abortion. Rubio’s home state of Florida appears to be ground zero for Zika in the U.S., so the issue is a real one. Rubio supported President Obama’s efforts to fund a $1.9 billion Zika fighting bill, but the bill failed to pass Congress. As woman infected with the Zika virus begin to give birth to children with microcephaly and other disorders caused by Zika, the debate over late-term abortions