As the threat of Zika virus escalates, response efforts have focused primarily on environmental health concerns and mosquito control. However, Zika is also a significant women’s health issue. While primarily transmitted by mosquitoes, the virus can also be transmitted sexually or perinatally, leading to birth defects, such as microcephaly. The Center for American Progress has estimated that more than 2 million pregnant women in the United States are potentially at risk of infection with the Zika virus this summer and early fall. Currently, there are more than 600 pregnant women being monitored for the Zika virus, and seven infants have been born with microcephaly in the United States and its territories. Zika has also had a ravaging effect on women and families in Latin America.
Ensuring access to reproductive and maternal health care is critical, both to fight the Zika outbreak and to curb the effect the virus can have on women. Moreover, the most effective responses will meet the needs of those who will be most heavily impacted, particularly low-income pregnant women and women of reproductive age.
Please join the Center for American Progress for a discussion on strategies to ensure access to quality, timely reproductive and maternal health care to combat Zika virus transmission.
Winnie Stachelberg, Executive Vice President for External Affairs, Center for American Progress
Dr. Jewel Mullen, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Ann Marie Benitez, , Senior Director of Government Relations, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
Dr. Christopher Zahn, Vice President for Practice Activities, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Clare Coleman, President and CEO, National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association
Latanya Mapp Frett, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Global & Vice President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc.
Jamila K. Taylor, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress