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In Light Of Zika Virus, Health Policies Must Support Women’s Access To Reproductive Health Services, Including Abortion, Contraception

Washington Post: Zika is the latest example of how hard it is to be a woman in Latin America
Jill Filipovic, journalist and lawyer

“…Again, the burden is on women to avoid pregnancy, and again, those same women have few tools to do it. … At no point have women been given the necessary medical, social, and financial support to carry out the task assigned to them. Zika means women who already carry enormous weight with little assistance are being assigned even more reproductive burdens, in countries where their labor is demeaned and their own decisions denigrated and unsupported. The socioeconomic status of millions of women is unlikely to change in a few weeks. Their access to health care, including contraception and abortion, could — if there’s the political willpower. Perhaps the virus will finally make Latin American governments realize the load with which they’ve saddled women is too heavy…” (2/3).

Winnipeg Free Press: The politics of global maternal health
Candace Johnson, associate political science professor at the University of Guelph

“…[A]ccessibility of birth control could be improved as a public health goal, even if the larger goal of women’s reproductive rights is still unpalatable in many countries in the region. Access to prenatal screening, which requires fairly sophisticated and expensive technology, and abortion, which does not, would also improve disparities, as the range of choices available to women would be expanded. While these are complex goals fraught with all sorts of political, religious, and cultural problems, the admonition to ‘not get pregnant for the next few years,’ is nonsensical. If only it were that simple. … What is needed is global maternal health policy that addresses the complex social and biomedical sources of inequality and infection in developing countries as a serious priority of international politics” (2/3).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.