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Across Latin America, calls to loosen some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world in the face of the Zika virus outbreak are gaining momentum but encountering strong and entrenched opposition.

In El Salvador, where abortions are banned under any circumstance, the health minister has argued for a revision of the law because of the dangers the virus poses to fetal development.

In Colombia, an organized movement to lift restrictions on abortion has gained allies in the government but has run into determined opposition from religious authorities. The same is happening in Brazil — and some doctors say that as a consequence, illegal, back-alley abortions are on the rise.

Nearly everywhere in Latin America, including in those countries hit hardest by Zika, women who wish to terminate their pregnancies have few legal options. But as U.N. health officials have projected as many as 4 million infections in the Americas this year, activists are pressing lawmakers to act as swiftly as possible to ease rigid restrictions.

Several governments in Latin American nations have responded to the crisis by urging women to postpone pregnancy. But the availability of contraceptives is limited, especially in rural Latin America, and church authorities in the heavily Roman Catholic region oppose their use.

Until Zika is eradicated, literally millions of babies could be born with microcephaly.  The microcephaly is just the tip of the iceberg.  Scientists are unsure of other neurological impairments that could be a result of this disease.

The Catholic Church needs to back off regarding contraception as long as this disease is spreading.

Countries need to remove restrictions to abortion as long as pregnant women are contracting this disease.  No woman should be forced to bear an extremely deformed child.

I am reminded of the Thalidomide  scare back in the 60’s.  I was a kid but I formed my solid opinions on this subject then and I have not changed my mind.

Meanwhile, there will be more and more unsafe, illegal abortions in countries affected by Zika and who have restrictive abortion laws. Some women will even attempt  to come to this country for the procedure.  Latin American countries need to face the reality of this medical crisis.




7 Thoughts to “Zika prompts intense abortion debate in Latin America”

  1. Pat.Herve

    This is a very serious problem to the health of many people. Far worse than Ebola for pregnant woman and their child.

    Where are the calls to ban all the flights from South America?
    Zika can be transferred through bodily fluids – where are the containment booths in airports?

    Seriously, this is a very profound problem for the newborns. Obama is asking for Congress to authorize $1.8 Billion in funding to for research and prevention. Life does not stop at birth – are we going to spend the money on research or let the Zika virus run its course. Politics has already left a generation of children in Flint Michigan with life long problems – are we going to allow it to happen to many more.

    1. That article said that women who procure abortions in El Salvador face decades in prison. I was horrified after reading it.

      I will go on record right now. If I were a young pregnant woman who had Zika, I would have an abortion in a New York minute.

      I find this situation horrifying. If this problem were something facing the United States, and it very well may be before all is said and done, we would be moving mountains to contain and eradicate the disease.

      The cost to care for and educate microcephic children is staggering.

  2. Jackson Bills

    Moon-howler :
    If this problem were something facing the United States, and it very well may be before all is said and done, we would be moving mountains to contain and eradicate the disease.

    Really? We don’t seem to be moving mountains to secure the southern border to keep potentially infected people from entering the country illegally. We seem to be doing quite the opposite actually.


    1. Half of them probably want a legal abortion since it is so restrictive in the home country. Now, do you blame them?

      I believe President Obama is scraping up a billion to eradicate it.

  3. Jackson Bills

    I could be wrong here Moon but I highly doubt that half of the women illegally crossing our southern border are doing so because they want an abortion.

    I did see that President Obama is seeking $1.8 billion for programs to control mosquitoes, research into vaccines and pubic education programs, which is good I suppose.

    However, don’t you think that the first step in ‘moving mountains to contain’ it would be to secure our southern border to keep it from spreading to the United States? Look at the map you posted, there are confirmed cases over the entire map to our south. But Obama is doing the exact opposite according to the above article I posted.

    He isn’t moving anything let alone ‘mountains’ to contain it.

    1. No. The first step would be to control mosquitoes and develop vaccines.

      Closing the borders? What would you have him do, cast a giant mosquito net?

      psssstttttttt–plenty of people travel between our country and Latin American legally, using boats, planes and even the old fashioned car.

      Zika has now been found to be sexually transmitted and transmitted via body fluids.

  4. Jackson, so far very few women have given birth. Wait until thousands are born with this malady. That is when you might see a surge in women crossing the border for abortion. Actually, the mountain will probably go to Mohammad, if you get my drift. It’s easier to set up a medical ship in international waters.

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