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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Women's health advocates say Scott, Rubio and Trump not doing enough to fight Zika

An Aedes aegypti mosquito, the breed that carries the Zika virus, sits inside a glass tube.

Associated Press

An Aedes aegypti mosquito, the breed that carries the Zika virus, sits inside a glass tube.



ST. PETERSBURG — The effort to fight Zika in Florida has three big obstacles in the eyes of women's health advocates, and their names are Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott.

Florida Rep. Gwen Graham said in a conference call Thursday that she foresaw Zika's presence in the state and knew preparation would be key. However, she said, when she learned that mosquito prevention resources were limited across the state, she saw a much greater need for immediate funding, which Congress did not provide before going on recess.

A clean bill is key to fund the fight against Zika, she said.

"We are facing a real epidemic in this state," Graham said. " It is absolutely time for Congress to come back in session."

Dawn Laguens, head of Planned Parenthood Votes, condemned Rubio and Scott, saying the Florida legislators "have been making things worse" by voting against access to family planning resources for years. And Trump, she said, isn't making things better.

The disease, which can also be sexually transmitted, cannot be eradicated in Florida without providing proper contraceptives or family planning, Laguens said. 

"You cannot have a Zika strategy that focuses on mosquitoes," Laguens said, "and not women and families."

Graham has a daughter, which makes all the more nervous when it comes to Zika. Her daughter isn't pregnant now, but she said the future makes her uneasy.

"Mosquitoes know no boundaries," Graham said. "People are rightfully concerned about pregnancy during this time."

[Last modified: Thursday, August 18, 2016 3:52pm]


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