Dangerous Intersection: Zika Transmission and Cuts to Reproductive Health Services in Texas
February 2, 2017
At the end of November 2016, Texas officials reported a case of local transmission of Zika virus, which is associated with microcephaly and long-term neurological complications in infants born to women infected while pregnant. A few weeks later, capping off a multiyear process that has reduced the access of low-income women in Texas to family planning services, the governor’s office issued a final notice to providers associated with Planned Parenthood that the organization would no longer be eligible to participate in taxpayer-funded programs. The arrival of Zika, along with the state’s systematic restriction of low-income patients’ access to reproductive health care, raises questions about the potential of this border state to hold the line against Zika and its negative effects when the next mosquito season arrives.