Abortion Pill Orders Rise in Zika-Stricken Countries
According to recent reports, there has been a huge spike in the number of abortion pill requests, specifically in Latin American countries affected by Zika where abortion is restricted.
In the study, the New England Journal of Medicine analyzed the data from Women of Web (WoW) from January 2010 to March 2016 in 19 Latin American countries to see if abortion pill orders increased after the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) sent out an alert about the Zika epidemic in November 2015.
The data they collected from WoW, a non-profit that provides mifepristone and misoprostol abortion medications to regions with restricted access to safe abortion, shows a significant increase in the number of requests they received as compared to the number they expected in most countries, though not all were regions with known Zika transmission.
Because of the effects the mosquito-born virus is known to have on babies, many expecting mothers are fearful, writing to WoW of their concerns and asking for help:
"I contracted Zika 4 days ago. I love children. But I don't believe it is a wise decision to keep a baby who will suffer. I need an abortion. I don't know who to turn to. Please help me ASAP!" Jezebel wrote of a message from one Venezuelan woman, also mentioning a message from a Colombian woman, "Here Zika is a major problem and the health authorities do not help with it... I have no resources at this time and want to ask for your help because fear overwhelms me. What if the baby is born sick?"
But, while it cannot be confirmed as to whether this increase in abortion requests, following the PAHO alert, is directly linked to the fear of Zika virus transmission, we can only suspect it plays a small part at best. And with the inevitable spread of Zika to countries where abortion is restricted, the question will remain.
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