Zika infection in pregnancy is not the public health nightmare biased organizations would like women to fear. Initial reports from a study in Colombia on Zika infection, pregnancy, and microcephaly have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NJEM).
Another study, published by the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI), also calls into question the prevalence of microcephaly resulting from Zika infections. These findings suggest that many babies born to mothers with Zika infection during pregnancy will be unaffected by microcephaly.
The NJEM report finds Zika infections in Colombia are prevalent, with 65,726 cases reported and 11,944 of those infected being pregnant women. More than 90 percent of those women delivered babies not afflicted with microcephaly, a birth defect linked with Zika where the child’s head is born abnormally small, which may indicate brain damage. Media reports of Zika and pregnancy have caused widespread concerns that a diagnosis of Zika means catastrophic birth defects for all babies, but the numbers are not supporting that premise.
Of the 50 babies born with microcephaly during the time period tracked, 20 were from causes other than Zika, 26 are still being investigated, and only four cases were linked to mothers with prenatal Zika infection.
The NECSI report reads, in part: “In summary, it is unclear from available data whether the model of Zika as the sole cause of microcephaly can consistently account for the cases across different countries and regions of Brazil.” In addition, “The seemingly large discrepancy between microcephaly counts in Colombia and Bahia echoes discrepancies between different parts of Brazil that recently led to questions about whether there are additional factors that affect the microcephaly rates.”
We need more research on what is actually causing a spike in microcephaly in South America, and that research needs to be funded and conducted by groups without ties to the abortion industry, which is a major financial conflict of interest. Mothers are being told that an endemic infection will cripple their babies, and that they’ll be unable to care for them. They’re being pressured to abort, and these countries are being pushed to expand abortion laws to facilitate later-term abortions. Information from pro-life and neutral organizations is far more encouraging and shows mothers with Zika infections will almost always have a healthy baby. Zika is not a reason to increase abortion access and pressure women into aborting their babies.
Planned Parenthood proponents are pushing for more taxpayer funding in light of Zika infections, even though this would not actually help families affected by Zika:
it makes no sense to allocate Zika funds to Planned Parenthood, which operates only two branches in Puerto Rico that are only able to provide limited services. Instead, they argue Zika health-related funds should go to federally qualified health centers that are equipped to treat the virus and its effects on patients and children, both born and unborn. In Puerto Rico, there are 20 federally qualified health centers, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
No matter what percent of pregnancies in women infected with Zika result in a baby with microcephaly, those babies are still children. We should all focus on pinpointing the causes of microcephaly, remediating those issues, and supporting all families and all lives as equally deserving of love and compassionate care.