Zika: Worse than Thalidomide?

In early 2016 Brazilian authorities noted an alarming spike in the number of cases of microcephaly in some parts of the country. Microcephaly is the medical term for "small head", meaning that the baby's brain did not develop normally during pregnancy. The symptoms of microcephaly can include intellectual deficits, deafness, blindness, seizures and death. Usually microcephaly is extremely rare, but Brazil was seeing many times the number of cases expected. The reason? The condition was being caused by Zika, a formerly little-known virus transmitted by mosquitoes. Women who were infected during pregnancy, or even before pregnancy, transmitted the virus to the developing baby, with devastating consequences.

Since the outbreak was first identified we have learned a lot about Zika, none of it good. The virus can also be transferred to a woman through her partner's semen, so even if she isn't infected by a mosquito bite, she could still get infected and pass the virus on to her fetus. Also, the geographic range of Zika is now known to extend throughout South and Central America and Mexico, and is even in the southern United States. Because a Zika infection often doesn't have symptoms for the woman, she may be carrying the Zika virus without knowing it.

This is a public health disaster, but there seems to be little that the affected countries are able - or willing - to do. "Don't get pregnant" is the advice from health ministers. This is very difficult for women to do in countries where birth control expensive and hard to access, and where abortion is often illegal. Many women are left with few options to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy child.


For more information on Zika and its effects on the brain please see the article below:

Zika: Worse Than Thalidomide?

"Phony abortion clinics in Canada are scaring women with lies" ~VICE

Here's an informative article by Tamara Khandakar from VICE Canada, about fake abortion clinics -- or rather, religious organizations that attempt to convince women to change their mind.

"They'll have innocuous-sounding names, like “Aid to Women” or “Pregnancy Care Centre,” and to the untrained eye, they won't look like they're being run by lying nut jobs.

When I call Aid to Women, a Toronto crisis pregnancy centre, to schedule a pregnancy options consultation, I speak with Enza Rattenni, the executive director. She seems friendly enough at first, but it's not long before what should be a pretty simple phone call starts feeling like an interrogation.

Full disclosure: none of what I tell Enza on the phone is true: I'm not six weeks pregnant, I don't have a boyfriend, and I don't need options counselling. But I've heard a ton of horror stories about crisis pregnancy centres."


"She tells me if I'm only able to come in after hours, it's fine and that she knows how important it is to have these conversations. Sometimes, she tells me, girls walk out of abortion clinics and find out they've been LIED to, and she doesn't want this to happen to me. It made me wonder how the women who mistakenly stumble into the clinic Enza is working out of must feel when they realize they’ve been misled, given how little these clinics do to distinguish themselves as anti-abortion organizations."

At any genuine abortion clinic, counseling must always be unbiased. All counsellors are trained to help ensure each patient is making a decision based on what she wants. Women's decisions are respected. Moreover, these fake clinics attempt not only to pass themselves off as unbiased, but give the impression of being medical in nature - they are neither, of course. These centers are unregulated, have their own personal agenda, and use deception, fear and intimidation to acoomplish their own selfish goals.

Additionally, they use fear mongering and blatant falsehoods that are not medically supported to scare people away from a very common, safe and legal procedure performed many thousands of times each year in Toronto alone. Unlike Canadian abortion clinics, these centers aren't accountable to anyone and lure women under false pretenses.

"Many women are presumably being coerced by these clinics into keeping children they’re not ready for—and with a significant lack of attention placed on these phony abortion centres—this is an issue Canada should become more aware of as soon as possible."