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Countries heavily affected by Zika urged to repeal abortion policies

Published:Friday | February 5, 2016 | 2:20 PM


  UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Cecile Pouilly, says the OHCHR is asking governments in Zika-affected countries in Latin and South America to repeal any policies that break with international standards and restrict access to sexual and reproductive health services, including abortion.

"We are asking those governments to go back and change those laws," she said. "Because how can they ask those women not to become pregnant but also not offer them first information that is available, but the possibility to stop their pregnancies if they wish?"

Pouilly said that about a quarter of women had experienced physical or sexual violence in El Salvador in the past year.

"So that also shows that many of these pregnancies are out of their control and countries obviously have to take that into account," she said. Pouilly said that safe abortion services should be provided to the full extent of the law. "The key point is that women should have the choice and (make) informed decisions," she said. "Women should be able to have an abortion if they want."