Zika Scare Reopens Abortion Debate in Brazil - NBC Bay Area

Zika Scare Reopens Abortion Debate in Brazil

Brazil's National Conference of Bishops declared its opposition to the abortion debate in the wake of the Zika virus.

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    In this Jan. 29, 2016 photo, Tainara Lourenco stands in the entrance of her stilt home with her hand on her baby bump, at a slum in Recife, Brazil. Unemployed and five months pregnant, 21-year-old Lourenco lives in a slum at the epicenter of Brazil’s tandem Zika and microcephaly outbreaks, in the state of Pernambuco.

    Fears over the Zika virus are reopening the debate over abortion in Brazil, where the procedure is illegal under most cases, NBC News reported.

    Brazilian bishops opposed a petition seeking to expand abortion laws to cover women infected with Zika. In a statement, the bishops said the situation doesn’t advocate abortion “for cases of microcephaly.”

    Groups that want to change the laws say advising women to avoid pregnancy is not enough. Activists want the government to provide pregnant women with Zika virus testing, and the option to choose whether they wish to continue with their pregnancy.

    Abortion is legal in Brazil in cases of rape or incest, if it endangers the woman’s life of if the fetus is developing anencephaly — a rare condition where the baby is missing parts of its brain and skull.