Brazilian judge Jesseir Coelho de Alcantara has declared he will approve abortions for women who have contracted Zika and can prove their unborn child has microcephaly or ancenephaly. In Brazil, abortions are only legal with judicial approval.
The “microcephaly epidemic,” as it is called in the BBC Brasil article, is reported to have affected at least 20 Brazilian states or more and the federal district.
Ancenephaly is a condition in which a fetus is missing a portion of the brain, skull, or scalp. Microcephaly is defined as an abnormal smallness of the head, a congenital condition associated with incomplete brain development.
As reported by BBC Brasil, Coelho de Alcantara deemed the termination of pregnancy in cases of microcephaly where there is a forecast of infant death “valid,” but added the situation “needs to be evaluated ‘case by case.'”
Brazil has launched a door-to-door campaign executed by 220,000 soldiers to combat the spread of the Zika virus. The campaign launches as one of the nation’s largest newspapers reports that medical experts have recorded more than 4,000 cases of microcephaly in the nation. Zika virus spreads through bites from the mosquito Aedes aegypti, which also carries Dengue, yellow fever, and Chikungunya. The virus is common throughout Latin America and in the warmest parts of the rest of the hemisphere.
While medical experts long believed Zika to be a mild viral infection, with symptoms resembling a weaker Dengue fever, Zika appears to be extremely dangerous to pregnant women. Brazilian authorities have documented thousands of cases of pregnant women diagnosed with Zika giving birth to babies with microcephaly, as reported by Martel. Children with microcephaly typically suffer severe mental damage.
“If requested by any pregnant woman in this case, pregnant with microcephaly and Zika with medical evidence that this baby will be born alive, then yes, we authorize abortion,” said the proprietor of the First Court of Crimes Against Life in Brazil’s Goiânia region, which has allowed interruption of pregnancies in cases of syndromes Edwards and Body-Stalk, anomalies that would throttle the survival of the baby outside the womb,” reports BBC Brasil.
The Brazilian outlet reports that “whether abortion is legal in cases of anencephalic fetuses, ‘whose life after birth is impossible,’ it is also justified in ‘pregnancies in which the fetus proved to be born dead’ due to microcephaly.”
“Anencephaly and severe microcephaly, with death at birth, are similar cases,” the BBC reported the Alcantara judge told them by telephone. He told them that, in order for him to allow a legal abortion, he requires three medical reports and other evidence.
Lana Shadwick is a writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. Follow her @LanaShadwick2