UN Demands Zika-Infected Countries Give Women Access To Abortion And Birth Control
Countries' advice to women to delay pregnancies "ignores the reality" that they don't have control over when they become pregnant.
The advice of some governments to women to delay getting pregnant, ignores the reality that many women and girls simply cannot exercise control over whether or when or under what circumstances they become pregnant, especially in an environment where sexual violence is so common,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in a Friday statement.
To those following the UN’s involvement in international abortion rights policy, this comes as no surprise. UN officials have consistently urged countries to lift restrictive bans on abortion, declaring that they breach human rights treaties.
The UN’s announcement comes a day after a judge in Brazil went against the country’s mainstream abortion policy by announcing he’ll allow women to end a pregnancy in cases of microcephaly.
Abortions are currently outlawed in Brazil, except for cases of rape, anencephaly (a more extreme version of microcephaly, where a baby often dies in infancy), or when the mother’s life is in danger. Some conservative lawmakers have even pushed to further regulate these exceptions.
“I know this is very difficult because the subject is new, requires thorough discussion, and a great deal of religious influences persists,” said Judge Coelho de Alcântara. “But my position is that abortion for microcephaly should be allowed.”
This is exactly the reaction that international women’s health advocates have been hoping for — but believed would be a long shot. Conservative Latin American governments have historically suppressed any efforts to lift or loosen abortion bans — that is, until now.