Zika Virus Babies Caused Abortion Debate in Brazil; Gets Backlash From Pro-Choice Latino Families

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Feb 15, 2016 10:38 AM EST

RECIFE, BRAZIL - FEBRUARY 01: David Henrique Ferreira, 5 months, who was born with microcephaly, is examined by a doctor on February 1, 2016 in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil. Ferreira's mother says she spends up to eight hours per day in transit on buses, three days per week, to visit a litany of doctors with David. In the last four months, authorities have recorded thousands of cases in Brazil in which the mosquito-borne Zika virus may have led to microcephaly in infants. The ailment results in an abnormally small head in newborns and is associated with various disorders including decreased brain development. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Zika virus a Òpublic health emergency of international concernÓ today. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) (Photo : Getty Images)

Alarm in recent months over the Zika virus, which is believed to cause microcephaly in the foetuses of pregnant women, has prompted to loosen regulations on abortion among Catholic countries, especially in Brazil. This comes after recommendations to delay pregnancy were announced to decrease cases of Zika virus.

According to Latino Fox News, the recommendations receive a backlash, particularly among the disabled children. Danielle Alves who gave birth to Luiz Gustavo who was born with microcephaly left the three-year-old unable to walk, talk or eat without help.

"I know it's very difficult to have a special needs child, but I'm absolutely against abortion," Alves was quoted by Latino Fox News. Alves lives in Vitoria da Conquista, a city in the impoverished northeastern region where the Zika and microcephaly outbreaks have the highest rates.

Many have taken to social media to express their case. More than half of Brazil's 200 million populations are connected to Facebook and Whatsapp making it a perfect medium to express their stand. They believe that all babies even with severe forms of disability like microcephaly still have the right to be born.

The Catholic Church and Pentecostal faiths, which run strong in Zika-infected countries, have also been fighting back with recommendations of abortion and use of contraceptives.

Sergio da Rocha, the president of the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops, said last week that abortion is not the answer to the Zika epidemic.

The Washington Post reports that in, El Salvador where abortions are banned under any circumstances, the health minister has argued for a revision of the law given the epidemic of Zika virus.

Meanwhile, in Colombia, an organized movement to lift restrictions on abortion has gained support in the government although they encountered opposition from religious authorities.

The United Nations health officials have predicted the infection to rise as high as four million this year. Activists are urging lawmakers to act fast as possible restrictions can increase more cases.

Many of the nation's top newspapers have expressed their support for the revision of abortion laws. A judge in the central city of Goiania has even authorized abortions in severe cases of microcephaly, Latino Fox News reported.

Already, several governments in Latin American nations have recommended postponing pregnancy in response to the crisis, reports Washington Post. However, in some of the rural parts of Latin America, contraceptives were found limited. More so, religious officials also oppose to the use of contraceptives.

Latino Fox News said that abortion is illegal except in cases of rape, anencephaly or danger in mother's life and another birth defect involving the brain. In real life, most wealthy women in urban areas have easy access to abortion clinics while the poor are left to rely on doubtful procedures.

The spread of Zika continues to intensify the debate over the revision of abortion and the use of contraception.

Check out the video about Zika virus and abortion:

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