Via The Guardian, health editor Sarah Boseley writes: Zika emergency pushes women to challenge Brazil's abortion law.
Women’s groups in Brazil are set to challenge the abortion laws this summer in the hope of making a safe and legal termination possible for women at risk of delivering a baby born with defects after exposure to the Zika virus.
“Women should be able to decide and have the means to terminate pregnancies because they are facing serious risks of having babies with microcephaly and also suffering huge mental distress during their pregnancies. They should not be forced to carry on their pregnancies under the circumstances,” said Beatriz Galli, a lawyer on bioethics and human rights who works for Ipas, a group dedicated to ending unsafe abortion.
Lawyers for the organisations will present a legal challenge at the supreme court in the first week of August, when the court sits again after the winter break. They are co-ordinated by Anis Instituto de Bioética, which campaigns for women’s equality and reproductive rights.
The groups have obtained an opinion from lawyers at Yale University in the US, who argue that the Brazilian government’s policies on Zika and microcephaly have breached women’s human rights. The government “has failed to enact adequate measures to ensure that all women have access to comprehensive reproductive health information and options, as required by Brazil’s public health and human rights commitments”, says a review from the Global Health Justice Partnership, which is a joint initiative of the Yale Law School and the Yale School of Public Health.
It is also critical of Brazil’s handling of the epidemic. Its “failure to ensure adequate infrastructure, public health resources and mosquito control programmes in certain areas has greatly exacerbated the Zika and Zika-related microcephaly epidemics, particularly among poor women of racial minorities”, the review says.