“Help!”

Email requests for abortion medication on the rise in Zika-affected countries

A pregnant woman infected by the Zika virus, is attended to at a hospital in Colombia. (SCHNEYDER MENDOZA/AFP/Getty Images)

“Help!” one email begins. “Zika in Venezuela. I need abortion!” A Canadian advocacy group that provides abortion pills and medical information to women in countries where the procedures is banned has reported a spike in requests from women in places affected by the mosquito-born Zika virus. Women on Web told The Independent that they have received emails from infected and still-healthy women in Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, and El Salvador, asking for help to procure the abortion pills. The group has been sending packages of Mifepristone and Misoprostol since 2005, when it was founded by Dr. Rebecca Gomperts. Gomberts told The Washington Post that the number of Brazilian women contacting Women on Web has tripled since the start of the outbreak.

“I am [name redacted],” begins one email. “I contacted Zika 4 days ago. I just found out I’m about 6 weeks pregnant. Today. Today, I found out I’m pregnant. I have a son I love dearly. I love children. But I dont believe it is a wise decision to keep a baby who will suffer. I need an abortion. I don’t know who to turn to. Please help me ASAP.”

“How do I know if I am infected?” wrote a woman who had come down with a flu several months earlier. “Can you please let me know what should I do? What kind of exam do I need to tell the doctor they should do to me?”

“Women that are pregnant and suspect that they have had Zika… just don’t want to take the risks of having a microcephalic baby,” Gomberts said. “Our worry is that these women will turn to unsafe abortion methods, while we can help them with a safe, medical abortion.”

After a trip to Mexico this week, Pope Francis suggested that avoiding pregnancy “is not an absolute evil,” but did not go as far as to approve contraception to help fight Zika.

Read the full story at The Independent.

Related:

Pope seems to say birth control is temporarily OK because of Zika

What do pregnant women need to know about the Zika virus?

Dutch organization will mail abortion pills to Zika-affected countries

Zika virus makes a longstanding public health crisis impossible to ignore

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