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Defending life
from conception to natural death


Zika virus is no reason for abortion or contraception, says pro-life group

4 February 2016

Microcephaly is a neurodevelopmental disorder

An internationally-active pro-life organisation has said that the spread of the Zika virus is no reason to promote abortion or contraception.


The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) was responding with concern, following reports suggesting a very large increase in the rate of microcephaly in babies in Brazil – up from a few hundred cases annually between 2010 and 2014, to 3,500 in 2015. 


Paul Tully, SPUC’s deputy chief executive, commented: “So far only a handful of these cases of microcephaly have been positively linked to the Zika virus (see Notes for Editors 1 below), yet pro-abortion lawyers are already calling for abortion to be allowed of babies whose mothers may have contracted the virus. Killing the babies affected is not prevention and won't prevent more cases. Rather, families should be supported and steps should be taken to establish evidence for the cause of the condition so that effective steps to prevent it can be put in place.(2) 


“The abortion lobby is playing on the fears of expectant mothers in order to promote its own agenda, which includes discrimination against disabled children.(3) The public are not being told that the degree of disability that microcephaly causes is very varied.


Contraception won't help


Mr Tully continued: “It has been suggested that the Catholic Church should permit couples to use artificial contraceptives to avoid the risk of conceiving children who may be affected by the virus. This seems to be a misplaced suggestion based on a misunderstanding of the possible pathway of the disease. 


“Structural impairments in the unborn child are usually related to the stage of development of the particular organ or structure.  The main brain structures are forming from around five to 10 weeks of development, so if Zika is the cause, infection before the time of conception is not likely to affect the baby. In light of this, it is hard to see how use of artificial contraceptives would help. There are many possible conditions that can affect unborn children – such as rubella virus which can affect brain development - and the only way to avoid all risks is to stop having babies altogether.


“It has been reported that some governments are advising women to avoid getting pregnant for up to two years. This would cause serious long-term problems, including economic problems and severe damage to maternity services”, concluded Mr Tully.


For further comments or to request an interview with SPUC, please contact Anthony Ozimic, SPUC’s Director of Communications, on

Notes for Editors:


(1) Brazilian health department


(2) “That said, there's a lot the scientific community still has to learn about the virus. Because it was previously so rare, it wasn't very well studied. And it's possible that something else is causing the rise in microcephaly in Brazil, even another virus.” 


(3) In Britain in the late 50s - early 1960s, the use of the drug Thalidomide led to thousands of babies being born with limb deformities, many of whom died – possibly from deliberate neglect. The Thalidomide tragedy was one of the factors used to push the Abortion Act through Parliament a few years later. This has been an unmitigated disaster for disabled children, helping to encourage the view that disability is a fate worse than death, and that disabled babies are better off dead.


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