Zika virus infection in Brazil and human rights obligations
The February 2016 WHO declaration that congenital Zika virus syndrome constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern reacted to the outbreak of the syndrome in Brazil. But the government’s urging to contain the syndrome, which is associated with microcephaly among newborns, is confounded by lack of reproductive health services. Women with low incomes in particular have little access to such health services. The emergency also illuminates the harm of restrictive abortion legislation, and the potential violation of human rights regarding women’s health. Proposed suggestions for remedying the widespread health-care inequities in Brazil are instructive for other countries where congenital Zika virus syndrome is prevalent.