Zika and abortion
A member of the Pro-Life Caucus, Third District Congressman Jeff Duncan of Laurens County has made "controversial comments" about the Zika virus and abortion, a Charleston newspaper says.
The Post & Courier reported Duncan said during a meeting of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere (Duncan chairs the subcommittee), 'This push for more abortion access (in South America) due to potential birth defects from microcephaly is heartbreaking especially since there are different degrees of microcephaly and some children born with these special needs may go on to live very normal lives. I believe every person, including the unborn child, is made in the image of God and therefore has inherent worth. Thus, we must do everything we can to support the very real needs of women in Latin American and the Caribbean who are facing incredibly difficult situations while also seeking to protect the lives of unborn children."
The newspaper says scientists report the mosquito-born Zika virus could be linked to thousands of new microcephaly cases in South America. Babies born with this condition have abnormally small heads.
The Cleveland Clinic, according to the newspaper, says even if these babies survive they potentially face poor "prospects of attaining normal brain function." In some countries, the government is urging women to delay pregnancies during the current Zika outbreak; the newspaper says "access to contraception and abortion in South American are limited."
Zika virus has not been reported in South Carolina. "Maybe all this is overblown," a health official is quoted by the newspaper as saying. DHEC has sent four blood samples to the Centers for Disease Control for testing of the Zika virus, the newspaper report says.
A vaccination is "years away," the health official said.