We've noted how medical misinformer Jane Orient of the far-right-fringe Association of American Physicians and Surgeons has been pushing the idea that the Zika virus really isn't anything to worry about by insisting without credible evidence that Zika is hardly to blame for birth defects. It seems that CNSNews.com wants to further that conspiracy.
In a Sept. 8 CNS article, Penny Starr complains that "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are collecting data on women who are pregnant and infected with the Zika virus and the number of children born with birth defects, but they are not reporting the number of children born from virus-infected mothers who have no birth defects." Starr seems a bit annoyed at this:
CNSNews.com asked the CDC if it could provide the number of children from mothers infected with the virus who were born without birth defects.
A spokesman responded that the voluntary “registry” created by the CDC does not track those babies.
“We are only reporting the number of pregnant women in the registry and [the] number of adverse outcomes,” the spokesman said via email. “Bottom line is we're not reporting other outcomes because we are just beginning to understand the full spectrum of adverse outcomes associated with Zika infection in pregnancy.
“The decision was made to only report [the] number of pregnancies and adverse outcomes at this point,” the spokesman said.
Starr then cited a study showing that "12,000 Zika-infected women gave birth to children without microcephaly" in Colombia, but also that there is "an impending microcephaly epidemic in Colombia" due to Zika.
This was followed by Starr citing the tabloid TV show "Inside Edition" about a baby born to a Zika-infected mother taht didn't have microcephaly but appears to have other signs that the virus has affected the baby.
Starr seems to be following in Orient's steps in downplaying the threat of Zika, even though all the risks and consequences of the virus aren't known yet. Since Starr is an anti-abortion activist, we can assume that her story is linked to, or inspired by, the fight over a federal bill to fight Zika that's being held up in part because Republicans inserted a clause that prohibits funding from the bill to Planned Parenthood (though Starr doesn't mention the battle in her article).
Because if Zika doesn't really harm fetuses, there's no need to fund Planned Parenthood because (in Starr's mind) the only possible thing they would want to do is an abortion. That's how the right-wing mind works.