The Republican Party's family values now include indifference toward babies with birth defects.
GOPers on Capitol Hill, including Rep. John Kline, Minnesota's Most Reprehensible Congressman (TM), Rep. Erik Paulsen, Minnesota's Most Reprehensible Congressman in-waiting (TM), and Rep. Tom Emmer all voted for a House proposal that allocates $622 million to fight Zika, the virus that's primarily spread by infected mosquitoes.
While rarely life-threatening, the virus poses particular danger to unborn children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suspect Zika is responsible for "fetal brain defects and… problems in infants, including eye defects, hearing loss, and impaired growth." It also can lead to a rare neurological disorder that results in paralysis in the newly born.
The sum approved by the House was just over half the amount the Obama administration had requested to combat the epidemic.
Even more egregious: The bill excludes $50 million that was needed for preventative maternal and child health care. It also prohibits funds from going to birth control services at Planned Parenthood. Instead, the legislation requires the money be spent on mosquito control programs and care for infants with special needs related to Zika.
In other words, the three Minnesota congressmen voted the GOP line that says spraying for mosquitoes and after-the-fact health care for sick kids are more important than helping to keep mothers and kids vital in the first place.
Zika outbreaks have been documented in almost 50 countries or territories, most of them in the Americas. Many countries are advising women to delay pregnancy. Collateral damage from the looming epidemic has meant an increased demand for abortions. It's also spotlighted the urgent need for family planning.
Brazil has been especially ravaged. South America's largest country registered 91,000 likely cases between February and April. Nearly 2,000 Brazilian children are confirmed to have Zika-related birth defects.
Democrats on the Hill and the White House have vowed to stop the GOP's underfunded initiative.
Neither Paulsen, Kline, nor Emmer responded to repeated interview requests.