Zika Sparks ‘Abortion Debate’ in South America

South America

Health anomalies have escalated to an alarming levels in South America as Zika cases continue to multiply across various countries.

The outbreak of the virus has sparked debates over the abortion of newborns. Newborn babies suspected to be affected by Zika are reported to have small heads and weak brains, due to the virus transferred to mothers via the mosquito virus carriers.  Strict abortion laws and reproductive rights by the Roman Catholic Church have raised the questions over avoiding pregnancy.

Circumstance have become tough for poor women. They have limited access to facilities to prevent the pregnancy. Around 60 percent of the pregnancies are reported unplanned, due to limited health facilities and very little knowledge among poor women.

According to experts, the concern is about the women who might contact illegal abortionists. In Brazil and El Salvador, abortion is illegal if it is not a case of rape or to save a woman’s life.

El Salvador reports 40 percent cases of teenage pregnancy and illegal abortions, which is extremely hazardous to the women, according to a report by The Globe and Mail. “It’s fine to recommend to prevent pregnancies, but they are not taking into account the reality of many women in El Salvador, those who don’t have access to contraceptive methods,” said Morena Herrera, a member of the Feminist Collective in San Salvador.

“Women encounter resistance [when they seek birth control] that comes from public health-care providers and from the church.”, added Herrera, reported by The Globe and Mail.

Around 2116 cases of microcephaly have been reported in Colombia. Brazil is more critical among others with 4000 cases reported since October 2015, according to a report.

According to WHO, the virus could hit 4 million people all over South America. As of the moment, there is no vaccine in existence that will cure Zika.  The organization has called it a “public-emergency” and has urged for “collective assistance” to help eradicate the virus and to find a cure for it.

Government authorities in all over South America have urged women to avoid pregnancy and the spread of virus.

The link between the virus and the birth defects has not been confirmed scientifically. Avoiding mosquito bites and taking precaution would help counter the Zika problem.

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