Zika and abortion in Brazilian newspapers: how a new outbreak revived an old debate on reproductive rights

Kimberly Gressick, Adriane Gelpi, Toni Chanroo

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Since the beginning of the Zika virus epidemic, the Brazilian Ministry of Health has reported over 2000 confirmed cases of microcephaly associated with Zika virus in Brazil, with the cases concentrated in the northeast states. The Zika epidemic reopened a debate in Brazil that has played out in the national newspapers about expanding the abortion law to provide autonomy and legal protection to women. The argument for expanding the abortion law to include microcephaly secondary to Zika virus infection called for autonomy for women and, more broadly, protection of reproductive rights. The argument against expanding the current abortion law was separated into two main moral veins: those citing eugenics and those citing religious beliefs. However, the debate on abortion in the case of microcephaly accomplished more than giving a voice to two different viewpoints; it exposed health disparities that exist in Brazil, which were magnified by Zika virus, and reopened the political arena for discussion of the abortion law.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-23
Number of pages4
JournalSexual and Reproductive Health Matters
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 31 2019

Keywords

  • abortion
  • Brazilian newspapers
  • microcephaly
  • Zika

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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