The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that at least two pregnant women who tested positive for the Zika virus chose to abort their babies.
The Washington Post wrote that one woman in her 30s “contracted the virus during her first trimester while traveling to a Zika-affected area.” Doctors found the baby had “severe brain abnormalities” at 20 weeks and the virus in the amniotic fluid. She decided to abort her baby.
The CDC said they “received more than 257 requests for Zika testing of pregnant women in the United States.” More than 97% tested negative, but the center decided to track nine pregnant women, who experienced “fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis” and traveled to Zika areas:
Six of the infected women acquired Zika during their first trimester, the CDC reported. Of those, two experienced miscarriages and two chose to have abortions. One woman delivered a baby who suffered from “severe microcephaly,” a condition marked by abnormally small head size, as well as seizures, trouble swallowing, eye problems and calcifications in the brain. One pregnancy is ongoing, the CDC said. The agency said that while remnants of the Zika virus were detected in fetal tissues taken after both miscarriages, “it is not known whether Zika virus infection caused the pregnancy losses.” Roughly 10 to 20 percent of all pregnant women suffer miscarriages during the first trimester, officials noted.
Of the two pregnant women with Zika diagnosed during their second trimester, one gave birth to an apparently healthy baby and another is still pregnant. The one pregnant woman who experienced Zika symptoms during her third trimester later delivered a healthy infant.
Doctors cannot diagnose microcephaly until the third trimester or after birth:
In many cases, microcephaly may not be evident by ultrasound until the third trimester and, therefore, may not be seen on ultrasounds performed earlier in pregnancy. The diagnosis of microcephaly may be made at birth or later in infancy. The baby’s head circumference is much smaller than normal. During the physical exam, the doctor obtains a complete prenatal and birth history of the child. In older babies and children, the doctor may also ask if there is a family history of microcephaly or other medical problems. Sometimes the child is born with a normal head circumference but then acquires microcephaly because of a serious condition, such as certain genetic disorders, stroke, traumatic injury, or poisoning. The doctor will also ask about developmental milestones since microcephaly can be associated with other problems, such as intellectual disability. Developmental delays may require further medical follow-up for underlying problems.
Experts continue to work to find an exact link between microcephaly and the Zika virus. Planned Parenthood and leftist politicians have argued that easier access to abortion will help contain the damage the Zika virus is causing in Latin America.
“It is essential to recognize that women and men have the right to make decisions and existential options and one of the most important choices in the life of a woman is to have children or not,” wrote sociologist Jacqueline Pitanguy in O Globo.
Virologist Gubio Soares, who first identified the presence of the pervasive Zika virus in Brazil, suggested that legalized abortion in French Polynesia may have prevented scientists from uncovering a link between Zika and severe infant deformities sooner.
During a lecture, Soares claimed scientists do not know for sure if a link exists between Zika and microcephaly. This is mainly because women in places where Zika breeds often aborted children who showed signs of microcephaly.
Fear of microcephaly or other complications due to Zika have pushed women to seek illegal abortions. Doctors indicate women in all social classes are seeking out these abortions “in despair over the possibility of deformity.” Some even go through with abortions without concrete proof of complications.
Paulo Leão, a state researcher and member of Brazil Without Abortion, said these decisions are another form of “eugenics.”
The CDC announced that doctors had confirmed the Zika virus in the tissue of infants who died from microcephaly. “This is the strongest evidence to date that Zika is the cause of microcephaly,” explained CDC Director Tom Frieden. “Zika is new, and new diseases can be scary, particularly when they can affect the most vulnerable among us.”
Frieden stopped short of claiming Zika caused microcephaly. He said scientists need to perform more tests to confirm an actual link.