Tuesday, February 2, 2016

WHO Declares Zika Situation Global Medical Emergency: Pro-Lifers? Any Response?

A footnote to what I posted yesterday (pointing you to an article by Emma Saloranta) about the cruel irony of leaders of predominantly Catholic nations encouraging women not to become pregnant as the Zika virus becomes rampant in those nations — when neither abortion nor contraception is an easily available option for many women in these nations:

Yesterday, the World Health Organization declared the Zika situation in Latin America a world health emergency. As the WHO announcement about this notes, Zika is very strongly suspected of being implicated in a huge rise in cases of congenital microcephaly and neurological disorders in places in which Zika infection is rapidly spreading. Hence the advice of women in Latin American countries experiencing the spread of Zika to avoid becoming pregnant . . . . 

At the thread discussing Tony Magliano's National Catholic Reporter article lamenting lack of media coverage for the recent March for Life in D.C., Rolando asks what pro-lifers will say in response to the WHO announcement. MarkWilliam responds to Rolando, noting that as of 29th January, when asked about the Zika situation, the Vatican Press office stated, 

For the moment there is no comment about this.

As Chris Morley noted here yesterday, if any U.S. Catholic bishop has yet issued a statement commenting on the spread of Zika in Latin America, he has yet to hear of it. 

And so I return to my point from yesterday's posting: I agree with Emma Saloranta that it's exceptionally cruel to tell women to avoid pregnancy when there's a strong likelihood that they may bear a seriously deformed child — and when one simultaneously tells those same women that contraception is not a moral option. And that abortion is certainly not a moral option . . . .

What are these women to do, realistically speaking? And why do the "pro-lifers" who moan and groan that people are not getting their message about abortion not seem to recognize that there are some very serious issues to be discussed here, which they themselves refuse to discuss, thereby strongly undermining their case to represent a consistent ethic of life. These include the following questions:

1. Is it morally admirable to prohibit women from seeking abortions when you've done little to address the socioeconomic conditions in which poor women live, which make it thinkable, in some cases, for them to choose abortions?

2. What kind of moral sense does it make to oppose the widespread availability of contraception (and healthcare plans providing contraceptive coverage to women), if you claim that abortion is the worst thing in the world, and you want in every way possible to combat it — when the use of contraception prevents unwanted pregnancies?

At The Guardian website today, Natasha Rees-Bloor offers a photo-essay documenting the spread of the Zika virus across the Americas. It includes photos of several children born with microcephaly after Zika became prevalent in their area.

The graphic is from an article about the Zika-microcephaly connection by Julia Belluz at Vox. I'm assuming she has made this graphic available for online sharing, since the graphic comes with buttons to share it on Facebook and Twitter.

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