Zika Virus Prompts Activists To Push For Legal Abortions In Brazil

A group of Brazilian lawyers, scientists and activists will petition the country’s Supreme Court to allow abortions if a baby would be born with microcephaly, as detailed in the Newsy video above.

Microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and serious developmental delays, is strongly linked to the Zika virus that is spreading through South America. The World Health organization declared a state of emergency around the virus on Monday.

Scientists have confirmed that Zika can pass from mother to fetus, which means pregnant women are highly at risk for the virus, which has no vaccine or cure. Officials have warned women to avoid getting pregnant, but over half of all pregnancies in countries like Brazil are unplanned. And abortion is illegal in most of the South American countries where Zika is prevalent.

Brazil is the epicenter of the Zika outbreak, with 270 confirmed cases of microcephalic babies and 3,448 more under investigation, according to the BBC.

“What we have at this moment, in this country, is a group of women who is in fear of getting pregnant and not knowing what will happen during the pregnancy,” Debora Diniz, a University of Brasilia law professor, said in the video.

Diniz is leading the petition to the Supreme Court, which will be delivered in two months, according to the BBC. The petition claims that “the Brazilian state is responsible for the Zika outbreak” because it did not eradicate the mosquito carrying the disease.

The relationship between Zika and microcephaly is not yet fully understood.

Abortion is illegal in Brazil except when the mother’s life is in danger or in cases of rape. The only other exception was added 2012, in the case of anencephaly, —> Read More