As I’ve been noting from when the first American* Zika stories broke, the Zika virus could have similar effects on attitudes towards abortion that rubella did (rubella is the “R” in the MMR vaccine). Well, it’s starting (boldface mine):
“We are calling for governments to expand access to contraception, particularly for groups that have low incomes,” said Giselle Carino, deputy director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) western hemisphere region.
“Then they must expand access to safe abortion services and we need an awareness campaign so women know about the risk of Zika and are aware of their options if they find themselves pregnant.”
The IPPF says advice from governments including in Colombia, El Salvador and Ecuador to delay becoming pregnant because of the risk of microcephaly – a form of brain damage in the foetus now being associated with Zika virus infection – is unreasonable in a region where around half of all pregnancies are unplanned and sexual assault is prevalent….
“It is a cheap shot for governments to say postpone your next pregnancy if you don’t make contraception and access to safe abortion readily available,” Iversen said….
Screening is possible in some Latin American countries such as Argentina and Chile, he said, but a definitive diagnosis would not be made before 24 weeks and more likely in the final three months, by which time abortion – which would be offered in the UK – would be illegal across most of the affected region…
In response to the advice given by one senior Brazilian government health official – that women should delay their pregnancies for the foreseeable future – Diniz said: “It is not a serious proposal. It is yet another attempt to avoid a proper discussion on abortion.”
Again, there’s no ‘life of the mother’ issue here (any more than in any other pregnancy). This redefines the abortion issue in that carrying a pregnancy to term also includes the welfare of the mother and her existing family. In a very subtle way, that’s quite radical.
*We U.S.-ians shouldn’t be so parochial about what countries “American” describes.