Provide Birth Control to Avoid Virus-Related Birth Defects in Newborns

women in el salvador wait for pre-natal care

Target: Eduardo Espinoza, El Salvador Deputy Health Minister

Goal: Give birth control to women in order to avoid birth defects in newborns while the Zika virus is still a threat.

Fear of the Zika virus has El Salvador’s government telling women to avoid becoming pregnant for the next two years because the virus causes birth defects in newborns. However, these women don’t have access to birth control options and are faced with the only option of abstinence in order to prevent birth defects in their babies.

The Zika virus is spread by mosquitos and mothers that contract the Zika virus give birth to infants with smaller skulls and brains. In El Salvador, birth control is very rare and expensive. It is so inaccessible to the general population that less than 10 percent of the population uses birth control. At a time that is so dangerous to newborns, the only options that the government gives women in order to avoid getting pregnant is to abstain from sex or to get a hysterectomy. A hysterectomy, or getting your tubes tied, involves surgery and can make problematic future pregnancies if the hysterectomy is reversed.

So far in El Salvador, there have been 5,397 cases of the virus confirmed. It is predicted that the virus will affect up to four million people this year. The virus is new and growing fast, and experts say that a vaccine may not be available for a few years. Help give women in El Salvador birth control options until it’s safe to conceive again. Demand that the government fund for birth control while the Zika virus is still a real threat.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Deputy Health Minister Espinoza,

To prevent more infants being born with the birth defects caused by Zika, El Salvador’s government is telling women to avoid becoming pregnant for the next two years. However, these women don’t have access to birth control options. Their only options are to abstain from sex for two years or to get a hysterectomy in order to avoid birth defects in their baby.

Help give women in El Salvador birth control options until it’s safe to conceive again. In El Salvador, birth control is very rare and expensive. It is so inaccessible to the general population that less than 10 percent of the population uses birth control. At a time that is so dangerous to newborns, the government’s greatest concern should be the health of its citizens and providing for those most at risk. I demand that the government fund birth control for women in El Salvador while the Zika virus remains a real threat.

Sincerely,

[Your name here]

Photo Credit: Salvador Melendez

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