Abortion requests rise amid Zika fears

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The mysterious Zika virus has been detected in 61 countries, the majority in Latin America and more pregnant women are considering abortions out of fear of birth defects in their babies.

The Zika virus may be driving a surge in interest in abortions in Latin America, according to a new study published by the New England Journal of Medicine.

According to the study, requests for abortion services in the region through one non-profit provider have jumped more than a third, with increases of close to double in hard-hit Brazil and Venezuela.

Abortion is illegal or severely restricted in most of Latin America, and so there are no official data on abortion rates.

Researchers instead examined data from the organisation Women on Web, which offers access to pharmaceutical abortions for women in countries where abortion is not available.

A comparison of abortion service requests through Women on Web before and after the first public warnings about Zika six months ago showed increases of at least 36 percent in all 19 countries surveyed.

The data help to illustrate how much Zika is worrying pregnant women in the region, said Abigail Aiken of the University of Texas at Austin, one of the study’s authors.

One factor driving the surge may have been government warnings urging women in Zika-affected areas to wait to become pregnant – warnings that may have alarmed women who already were.

For women whose children were born with the virus, the uncertainty can be devastating.

At a children’s hospital in the Venezuelan city of Valencia, Sodelis Balboa, 31, cried as she waited for news of her infant daughter.

“My baby has Zika and now the doctors say there were complications,” she told DPA. “No one can tell me what is going on.

The doctors just put me off.”

Treatment is a “disaster,” she said, amid an economic crisis in Venezuela that has …Read More

Source:: PM Newspaper