Zika, public health, and the distraction of abortion
- 429 Downloads
This paper suggests that the focus on abortion legalization in the aftermath of the Zika outbreak is distracting for policy and lawmakers from what needs to be done to address the outbreak effectively. Meeting basic health needs (i.e. preventive measures), together with research and development conducive to a vaccine or treatment for the Zika virus should be priorities.
KeywordsGlobal health ethics Neglected diseases Research and development Basic health care Abortion
I would like to thank John Keown, Christina Lamb, David Mulcair, Alisha Gabriel, Joseph Hattie, Elizabeth Cassidy, Faye Sonier, Andrea Mrozek, Francisco Javier Urbina, Steven Hoffman, Roojin Habibi, and Maxwell Tran.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
I declare no conflicting interests.
- Camosy, C.C. 2016. Is the call for Zika virus abortions the new eugenics? 19 Feb 2016. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-camosy-zika-abortion-eugenics-20160219-story.html. Accessed 23 Feb 2016.
- Dawber, A., and S. Marters. 2016. Zika virus: fear is pushing women into backstreet abortions. 2 Feb 2016. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/zika-virus-fear-is-pushing-women-into-backstreet-abortions-a6849486.html. Accessed 23 Feb 2016.
- Diniz, D. 2016. The Zika virus and Brazilian women’s right to choose. 8 Feb 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/08/opinion/the-zika-virus-and-brazilian-womens-right-to-choose.html. Accessed 23 Feb 2016.
- Gostin, L.O., and A. Phelan. 2016. The WHO must include access to birth control and abortion in its temporary recommendations for Zika-associated public health emergency of international concern. 1 Feb 2016. http://www.oneillinstituteblog.org/the-who-must-include-access-to-birth-control-and-abortion-in-its-temporary-recommendations-for-zika-associated-public-health-emergency-of-international-concern/. Accessed 23 Feb 2016.
- Hollis, A., and T. Pogge. 2008. Health impact fund—making new medicines accessible for all. Incentives for Global Health 53–69.Google Scholar
- Hunt, P. 2007. Neglected diseases—a human rights analysis. In WHO, Special Topics in Social, Economic and Behavioral Research Report Series, 6, 2007.Google Scholar
- Hotez, P., and S. Askoy. 2016. Will Zika become the 2016 NTD of the year? 7 Jan 2016. http://blogs.plos.org/speakingofmedicine/2016/01/07/will-zika-become-the-2016-ntd-of-the-year. Accessed 23 Feb 2016.
- Miller, M.E. 2016. With abortion banned in Zika countries, women beg on web for abortion pills. 17 Feb 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/02/17/help-zika-in-venezuela-i-need-abortion. Accessed 23 Feb 2016.
- Mora, E. 2016. Planned parenthood international using Zika to fundraise for abortion advocacy. 8 Feb 2016. http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2016/02/08/planned-parenthood-international-using-zika-to-ask-for-donations-to-expand-access-to-abortions. Accessed 23 Feb 2016.
- Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. 2016. Upholding women’s human rights essential to Zika response—Zeid. 5 Feb 2016. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=17014&LangID=E. Accessed 23 Feb 2016.
- PAHO. 2016. WHO. Neglected, tropical and vector borne diseases. http://www.paho.org/hq/index.php?option=com_topics&view=article&id=37&Itemid=40760. Accessed 23 Feb 2016.
- Parsons, M. 2016. We’ve neglected diseases like the Zika virus for too long. 26 Jan 2016. http://time.com/4193072/zika-virus-neglected-disease. Accessed 23 Feb 2016.
- Rasmussen, S.A., Jamieson, D.J., Honein, M.A., and L.R. Petersen. 2016. Zika virus and birth defects—reviewing the evidence for causality. In NEJM 374: 20, May 19, 2016, 1981–1987.Google Scholar
- Romero, S. 2016. Surge of Zika virus has Brazilians re-examining strict abortion laws. 3 Feb 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/04/world/americas/zika-virus-brazil-abortion-laws.html. Accessed 23 Feb 2016.
- SARS. 2003.Certainly the 2003 SARS, the 2009 H1N1, and the 2014 Ebola outbreaks were different from the current Zika outbreak: their modes of transmission as well as the ethical considerations they raised were all different. Yet, what SARS, H1N1, Ebola and Zika have in common is that they were all declared ‘Public Health Emergencies of International Concern’ (PHEIC) by the WHO.Google Scholar
- Senra, R. 2016. Group prepares action in the Supreme Court for abortion in cases of microcephaly (in Portugese). 29 Jan 2016. http://www.bbc.com/portuguese/noticias/2016/01/160126_zika_stf_pai_rs. Accessed 23 Feb 2016.
- Victora, C.G., Schuler-Faccini, L., Matijasevich, A., Ribeiro, E., Pessoa, A., and F.C. Barros 2016. Microcephaly in Brazil: how to interpret reported numbers? In The Lancet, Comment, Feb 5, 2016, 2–16. http://www.thelancet.com/pb/assets/raw/Lancet/pdfs/S0140673616002737.pdf. Accessed 23 Feb 2016.
- WHO. 2016. WHO statement on the first meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR 2005) Emergency Committee on Zika virus and observed increase in neurological disorders and neonatal malformations. 1 Feb 2016. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/statements/2016/1st-emergency-committee-zika/en.
- WHO. 2016. IHR Procedures concerning public health emergencies of international concern (PHEIC). 28 April 2016. http://www.who.int/ihr/procedures/pheic/en/.
- Yamin, A.E. 2016. Health, human rights and the Zika virus. 16 Feb 2016. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alicia-ely-yamin/health-human-rights-and-the-zika-virus_b_9239146.html. Accessed 23 Feb 2016.