Debate Over Abortion Access In Zika-Hit Nations Continues; Latin American Catholic Leaders Reassert Church’s Position Against Contraception, Abortion

Associated Press: Brazil’s Zika-related abortion debate sparks backlash
“…Alarm in recent months over the Zika virus, which many researchers believe can cause microcephaly in the fetuses of pregnant women, has prompted calls, both inside and outside Brazil, to loosen a near-ban on abortion in the world’s most populous Catholic country. But push for abortion rights is creating a backlash, particularly among the families of disabled children. The Catholic Church and Pentecostal faiths, strong forces in this deeply religious country, have also been fighting back…” (Barchfield, 2/14).

New York Times: Zika Virus in Colombia Presents Complicated Choice About Abortion
“…Unlike in Brazil, in Colombia some expecting mothers are being given the choice to end their pregnancies, under laws that allow abortions in some cases. … Most pregnant women who have contracted the disease in this country have not given birth yet, and no cases have been confirmed of infants born with abnormally small heads, a condition known as microcephaly. This has put women here in Colombia in the difficult position of considering — and, in some cases, having — abortions even before any microcephaly cases have appeared in the country…” (Casey, 2/15).

New York Times: Catholic Leaders Say Zika Doesn’t Change Ban on Contraception
“As the Zika virus spreads in Latin America, Catholic leaders are warning women against using contraceptives or having abortions, even as health officials in some countries are advising women not to get pregnant because of the risk of birth defects. … After a period of saying little, bishops in Latin America are beginning to speak up and reassert the church’s opposition to birth control and abortion — positions that in Latin America are unpopular and often disregarded, even among Catholics…” (Goodstein, 2/13).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

KFF Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270 | Email Alerts: | |

The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.