The majority of people in Brazil oppose abortion on grounds of microcephaly, a condition which causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads, a new survey has revealed.
An increase in cases of microcephaly has been linked to the spread of the Zika virus, which causes flu-like symptoms and usually clears up in a week. The possible, but disputed link with microcephaly, has led to demands that Brazil liberalise its restrictive abortion laws.
However, a poll commissioned by Brazil’s Datafolha Institute has found that 58% of Brazilians oppose abortion in cases of women infected with Zika, against 32% in favour of terminations. A further 10% had no opinion.
In cases where microcephaly is confirmed in a foetus, a majority still opposed abortion, at 51% of respondents. The percentage stating they would back an abortion in such a circumstance was 39%.
The continuing opposition to abortion in Brazil comes despite a call by the United Nations for countries affected by the Zika virus to offer terminations and a major push by advocates of abortion to sway the opinions of pro-life ministers in Brazil’s parliament.
Such actions have, however, been met by moves by politicians to bolster Brazil’s existing anti-abortion legislation, specifically on the question of seeking an abortion due to a microcephaly diagnosis.
Pope Francis also weighed in on the ongoing attack on Brazil’s the pro-life stance, insisting, as he concluded his recent visit to Mexico that abortion is “a crime” which sees the “throwing out of one life to save another…it’s a crime, an absolute evil”.