Dutch physician and human rights activist Dr Rebecca Gomperts is offering a free abortion pill service for pregnant women that have contracted the Zika virus.
Triple J has reported Dr Gomperts, who runs Women on Web – is running a service that mails out medical abortions to women around the world who can’t safely terminate pregnancies.
Potentially thousands of pregnant women infected with Zika are facing extremely challenging situation as abortion is illegal in their countries.
Rebecca told Hack that when the Zika outbreak began to escalate last month, she noticed a spike in traffic for her service.
“We realised that women were panicking, and that they were looking for help, and the most of these women would end up finding dangerous abortion methods. It’s very hard to get a safe abortion in these countries.”
Dr. Valeria Barros treats a 6-week old baby born with microcephaly at the Lessa de Andrade polyclinic, Brazil.
Photo: Mario Tama / Getty Images
While symptoms of Zika are generally mild and short-lived, its effect on unborn babies – whose mothers have contracted the virus – could be profound. There’s been over 4000 cases of microcephaly reported in Brazil since last year. That’s around twenty times the usual amount of cases than previous years.
Rebecca says pregnant women in countries like Brazil – one of the countries with the biggest Zika outbreaks, and also where abortions are illegal – started reaching out to Women on Web for help. She says staff directly consult with their clients before sending out the medical abortion.
“We ask them if it’s an unwanted pregnancy, because of Zika, or if it’s actually a pregnancy they want to carry to term.
“Because of course it’s the woman’s decision whether or not she wants to take the risk to have a baby with an underdeveloped brain.”