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article imagePope Francis says contraception may be used to avoid Zika virus

By Marcus Hondro     Feb 18, 2016 in World
In what is likely just the secnd time a Pope has okayed contraceptive use, Pope Francis said artificial contraceptives are acceptable for women threatened by the Zika virus. He made his remark to reporters on Wednesday.
Pope on Zika virus
While travelling back to the Vatican City after a visit to Mexico the Pope was asked by reporters about the Zika virus in Brazil, one of the countries most affected of the 34 it has appeared in. He told reporters that the "lesser evil" between artificial contraception and Zika was artificial contraception.
He said to avoid Zika, women could turn to artificial contraception. The Zika virus is suspected to lead to birth defects, such as an abnormally small head, and human rights organizations are urging governments in Central and South America, where the virus is most prevalent, to ease restrictions on abortions for pregnant women who have the virus.
The Pope, however, stopped far short of saying that abortions were all right when fighting the virus, for which there is no cure and no vaccine.
"Abortion isn't a lesser evil, it's a crime," Pope Francis told reporters. "Taking one life to save another, that's what the Mafia does. It's a crime. It's an absolute evil."
In the 1960s, in an effort to deal with the rising tide of the raping of nuns in the Belgian Congo, the then-Pope, Pope Paul VI, said artificial contraception could be given to nuns to prevent a pregnancy from resulting from a rape.
Humanae Vitae
Some Catholic organizations do not agree with either Pope. Once such group is the Voice of the Family, an international Catholic organization.
"Whatever Pope Paul VI is alleged to have said regarding nuns in the Belgian Congo, in Humanae Vitae (a 1968 Encyclical Letter) he repeated clearly the Church’s constant teaching that the separation of the procreative and the unitive aspects of the conjugal act is always wrong," said Maria Madise, manager of Voice of the Family.
"We have great sympathy for parents who may conceive a disabled child, but contraception is neither an ethical nor effective answer to the dangers of the Zika virus.” Madise added: "It should also be pointed out that hormonal forms of contraception can cause early abortions."
Pope Francis, the first Pope from the Americas — he is from Argentina — and from the Southern Hemisphere, added that a "vaccine needs to be worked on" to truly solve the problem of the Zika virus.
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