A problem with those Zika warnings

Hard to believe that just a few weeks ago, hardly anyone had heard of the Zika virus or the condition to which it is now suspected to be linked. Microcephaly is a rare congenital condition where infants are born with undersized craniums. Though Zika’s exact relationship, if any, to this lifelong condition has yet to be determined, WHO has declared Zika a global emergency, and government officials in Brazil,  Colombia, Ecuador and El Salvador are “advising women to avoid getting pregnant, for fear that the fast-spreading Zika virus may cause severe brain defects in unborn children.” Officials outside affected countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are advising women to “avoid traveling“ to those areas.

Notice anything odd about these warnings? No? Let’s continue:

As many commentators have pointed out, it seems mind boggling that countries without contraception, and where abortion is illegal even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother, are now recommending that women stop having babies for at least two years, or until medical researchers have a better understanding of Zika’s impact on developing fetuses. Human rights advocates and health workers have rightly pushed back against those recommendations. “Even if women attempt to follow the recommendations through abstinence,” writes Charlotte Alter for Time, “sexual violence is so pervasive throughout the region that many women may get pregnant against their will.”

Here is the problem: All of these warnings to women about getting pregnant have managed to avoid a particular word. That word is “men.”

– See more at: http://www.damemagazine.com/2016/02/03/three-letter-word-missing-zika-virus-warnings#sthash.csJH5iLM.dpuf

4 thoughts on “A problem with those Zika warnings

  1. A well made point. I’ts worth noting, though, that Colombia already allows abortion in cases of rape, life of the mother and certain kinds of fetal defects and that Brazil, which allows no abortions, is currently considering allowing some (partly in light of the number of women dying there from unsafe illegal abortions).

  2. Sorry, this article is completely wrong about the status of contraception in these countries. A little bit of web research shows it is legal in all 4 of the Latin American countries mentioned (sometimes even subsidized or free), and used by greater than 50% of the women there (according to the map on Wikipedia’s “prevelence of birth control” article).

    It may be that some people in rural areas have difficulty accessing contraception, but presumably those who actually heeded the government warnings would increase the demand for it.

    So, none of these countries are expecting people to be abstinant for 2 years. Instead they are encouraging their women to take control of their reproductive lives, something I thought most feminists would be in favor of.

  3. Basically, the “problem with those Zika warnings” is men.
    What a great article, definitely worth reading!

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