Officials from the abortion giant Planned Parenthood are taking advantage of fears surrounding the Brazilian Zika crisis to push for the expansion of abortion-on-demand throughout Latin America.
A number of recent cases of microcephaly, a condition that causes babies to be born with an abnormally small head and a short life expectancy, have been registered in Brazil and are thought to be possibly related to the mosquito-borne Zika virus.
In Brazil, cases of microcephaly have increased from 163 a year on average to more than 3,718 suspected cases since the outbreak, and 68 babies have died, according to the health ministry.
Zika takes its name from a Ugandan forest where it was first discovered in 1947 in an ape, with the first human case of the virus registered in 1968, according to WHO. For years it has been of little concern, occasionally producing “mild” illness in human populations. Its possible ties to microcephaly in babies, however, have turned the virus into a global concern.
Although so far only Brazil has seen a sharp rise in microcephaly cases, Planned Parenthood is targeting other Latin American countries with restrictive abortion laws, such as El Salvador, in hopes of exploiting the crisis to change existing legislation. See their video below:
As one report stated, even though Zika’s exact link to the rare birth defect known as microcephaly is still unclear, “warnings from El Salvador, at least six other countries and health officials across the Americas are raising anxiety for millions of would-be and could-be mothers in affected areas.”
“What happens in a country where abortion is completely illegal?” said Angélica María Rivas of ACDA, a Salvadoran partner of Planned Parenthood that agitates for the decriminalization of abortion. “What can be expected is an increase in the rates of illegal abortions, unsafe abortions and a mental health issue for women.”
Even though there have been no confirmed cases of microcephaly in El Salvador, Salvadoran officials are cautioning women not to get pregnant for two years to avoid the Zika virus, a measure that health advocates have called wildly unrealistic.
Giselle Carino, deputy director for the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) Western Hemisphere Region, called El Salvador’s response to the Zika virus “insufficient at best,” but said she hopes it will move legislators to reconsider their ban on abortion.
In January of 1999, Article 1 of the Constitution of El Salvador was amended to recognize the right to life from the moment of conception.
The response to the Zika virus “needs to be more comprehensive,” Carino said. “It can’t just be ‘Women shouldn’t get pregnant.’”
“When women are desperate … they will seek out their own solutions,” said Carmen Barroso, Western Hemisphere director for IPPF. In El Salvador, she said, half of all pregnancies are unplanned.
Planned Parenthood Global, which advocates for abortion access internationally, also weighed in on the question.
“Governments cannot, on the one hand, discourage pregnancy, while at the same time limiting their commitments to and funding for family planning and access to safe and legal abortion,” said Dee Redwine, Latin America regional director of Planned Parenthood Global.
WHO officials say it may be six to nine months before a correlation between Zika and microcephaly can be established or dismissed. This leaves Planned Parenthood and their Latin American partners a reasonable window of time to try to scare women into agitating for legal abortion.
Some 80 percent of people infected with Zika show no symptoms, making it difficult for pregnant women to know whether they have been infected.
A further complication stems from the fact that microcephaly typically is diagnosed very late in pregnancy, on average at 28 weeks, when the baby is fully developed, meaning that abortions of these children would be taking place in the third trimester.
In its campaign to spread abortion in Latin America, Planned Parenthood has a powerful ally in the United Nations. A 2013 UN agreement called the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development urges states where abortion is illegal “to consider amending their laws, regulations, strategies and public policies relating to the voluntary termination of pregnancy in order to protect the lives and health of women and adolescent girls, to improve their quality of life and to reduce the number of abortions.”
The UN document makes the absurd claim that the penalization of abortion “does not reduce the number of abortions” in the region, while simultaneously suggesting that legalizing abortion will “reduce the number of abortions.”
While Planned Parenthood pushes for more abortion, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said her country must wage war against the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads the virus, and efforts there will target the elimination of the insect’s breeding grounds, such as stagnant water spots where it lives and reproduces.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome