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Latin American Nations Must Consider Access To Contraceptives, Abortion, Human Rights Of Women When Formulating Zika Responses, U.N., Experts Say

CNSNews.com: U.N. Human Rights Chief Urges Expanded Access to Contraception, Abortion in Light of Zika Virus
“U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein urged Latin American governments Friday to increase access to ‘reproductive health services,’ including emergency contraception and abortion, in light of the rise of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in Brazil which is suspected to be linked to a birth defect called microcephaly…” (Brown, 2/7).

Financial Times: U.N. risks Zika clash with Latin America leaders
“…The mosquito-borne disease is sparking a debate in Latin America over the use of contraceptives and abortion. Countries such as Brazil have some of the toughest laws on abortion in the world thanks to a large evangelical faction in congress…” (Leahy, 2/5).

FiveThirtyEight: Asking Women To Avoid Pregnancy Is Absurd, Even In The Face Of Zika
“…[Jen Kates, vice president and director of global health & HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation,] says women in rural areas, poor women, young women, and victims of sexual violence have all been known to have even higher rates of pregnancies they didn’t plan. These numbers are high in part because access to contraceptives varies greatly depending on where you are — and who you are…” (Barry-Jester, 2/5).

The Guardian: U.N. tells Latin American countries hit by Zika to allow women access to abortion
“… ‘Women cannot solely bear the burden of curbing the Zika virus,’ said Charles Abbott, the [Center for Reproductive Rights’] legal adviser for Latin America & the Caribbean. … Reproductive rights advocates say the recommendations to avoid pregnancy are irresponsible and do not take into account that most pregnancies in the region are unplanned…” (Watts, 2/5).

Reuters: Condom makers step up to help with Zika effort
“Condom makers including Ansell Ltd are offering to help Zika-affected countries after the first case of the virus being sexually transmitted added to growing concerns over the spread of the disease…” (Penumudi/Banerjee, 2/5).

U.N. News Centre: Upholding women’s human rights essential to Zika response — U.N. rights chief
“…The High Commissioner’s Office (OHCHR) underlined that amid the continuing spread of the Zika virus, authorities must ensure that their public health response is pursued in conformity with their human rights obligations, in particular relating to health and health-related rights…” (2/5).

USA TODAY: U.N.: Zika-affected nations must increase contraception access
“…In many Latin American and Caribbean countries, basic contraception, such as birth control pills and IUDs, is in short supply. The Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and Nicaragua ban all abortions, according to a report released Tuesday by Kaiser Family Foundation. Six others — Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Paraguay, Suriname, and Venezuela — allow abortion only to save a woman’s life…” (Lackey, 2/5).

Washington Post: How a Zika-like illness helped change Americans’ views of abortion
“…[A]s the crisis continues to evolve, if governments proscribe whether women should have children, it will likely force at least some discussion of reproductive health issues into the open. ‘What women face in these challenges have been there for awhile, and are big challenges to women before Zika was introduced,’ said Jennifer Kates, a vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation. ‘If anything, Zika is raising awareness of the challenges women face every day’…” (Johnson, 2/5).

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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.