We Can’t Wait: With Congress unconscionably failing to act, states must move quickly to protect pregnant women from Zika

Growing up in rural Texas, my cousins and I spent the summer months covered in mosquito bites. Back then, they were merely a nuisance. We wore our bites like badges of honor: “I have 17 mosquito bites. Can you beat that?”

That wouldn’t happen today. The mosquito bite is no longer just an itchy annoyance but a serious health risk, and mosquito-borne illnesses are making a comeback. The Zika virus is currently the most notorious of diseases spread by mosquitoes in this hemisphere. It often causes mild or no symptoms but, as we know, can have serious health consequences, particularly for pregnant women. Exposure to the Zika virus during pregnancy can cause microcephaly and other severe brain conditions and has been linked to impaired fetal growth, hearing loss in infants and other pregnancy complications, including miscarriage.

Opinion piece by Kelli Garcia of the National Women’s Law Center