Latin American Women’s Online Requests For Abortion-Inducing Pills Increase Amid Zika Epidemic, Study Shows

The Guardian: Abortion demand soars in countries hit by Zika outbreak, study finds
“Demand for abortions has soared among women living in countries hit by the spread of the Zika virus who fear having a baby with severe birth defects, new data show…” (Boseley, 6/23).

New York Times: Abortion Pill Orders Rise in 7 Latin American Nations on Zika Alert
“…Orders [for abortion-inducing pills] from women in Brazil, Ecuador, and Venezuela roughly doubled, while those from Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Honduras went up by from 36 percent to 76 percent, researchers said in a study published Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine. The authors of the study included a leader of the group based in Amsterdam that is supplying the pills, Women on Web, a nonprofit staffed by doctors helping women from countries where abortion is illegal or restricted to terminate unwanted pregnancies…” (McNeil/Belluck, 6/22).

NPR: Has Zika Pushed More Women Toward Illegal Abortions?
“…[Abigail Aiken, a health policy researcher at University of Texas at Austin,] and some other researchers teamed up with collaborators at Women on Web to run an analysis of every request for abortion pills that women in Latin America had made to the group over the last five years…” (Aizenman, 6/22).

Reuters: Zika fears sent Latin American women seeking abortion alternatives: study
“…The research … is the first to measure the response of pregnant women to Zika warnings in countries where abortion is limited or banned. First detected in Brazil last year, the current Zika outbreak has been linked to more than 1,400 cases of microcephaly, a rare birth defect that can lead to severe developmental problems…” (Steenhuysen, 6/22).

STAT: Abortions in Latin America may be rising because of Zika virus fears
“…Requests for abortion-inducing drugs shot up in some Zika-affected countries after the alarm was raised about Zika infection in pregnancy … The requests rose by between 36 and 108 percent. Abortion restrictions are widespread across Central and South America…” (Branswell, 6/22).

USA TODAY: Zika leads more women to seek abortion help
“…Although demand for abortion pills has been especially high in Brazil, women in this country are often unable to receive them. Brazilian customs agents have been confiscating abortion pills sent through the mail since 2013, said co-author James Trussell, an emeritus professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University…” (Szabo, 6/22).

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.