Texas’ humid climate makes the state a breeding ground for mosquitos that carry the Zika virus, and experts warn that an outbreak is possible. In addition, the state’s weak health care safety net and shrinking access to reproductive services put pregnant Texans and their babies at great risk. Millions of Texas women are uninsured and struggle to access basic health care, including birth control that could help them avoid pregnancy while the threat of Zika looms. And with the loss of more than half of Texas’ abortion clinics, pregnant Texans face significant challenges to terminating a pregnancy should they test positive for the virus. This summer will test whether Texas is prepared to handle this public health threat.
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Alexa Garcia-Ditta is a staff writer (and former intern) covering women's health, reproductive health and health care access.