Statement of March of Dimes President Dr. Jennifer L. Howse On Failure of Congress To Pass Legislation To Combat Zika Virus

Washington | Thursday, July 14, 2016

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The March of Dimes released today the following statement from President Dr. Jennifer L. Howse as Congress departs for the political conventions and summer recess without having sent legislation to the President to provide federal resources to combat Zika virus: 

“The U.S. Congress has done a grave disservice to pregnant women, infants and families across this nation today by adjourning for seven weeks without having addressed the public health crisis posed by Zika.  

“Members of Congress should be ashamed that they were unable to come together on a bipartisan solution that would protect women and their babies from Zika and the terrible birth defects it causes.  It boggles the mind that the House of Representatives and the Senate have simply walked away from their obligation to protect the health and wellbeing of their constituents.

“Today, over 1,300 Americans have already been diagnosed with Zika virus in the states, and almost 3,000 in the territories.  Almost 650 cases of Zika have been identified among pregnant women in the states and territories.  Several infants have been born with microcephaly, a permanent, untreatable condition.  How many more babies will have to be born with grievous brain damage before Congress feels the need to act?

“Families don’t care if help comes from Republicans or Democrats.  Zika virus certainly isn’t going to discriminate between families based on political affiliation.  Our nation’s political dysfunction has reached a whole new level when our elected officials cannot agree on how to stop a virus that destroys infants’ brains before they are born.”

About March of Dimes

March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family.

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