Mother Who Contracted Zika Virus Rejects Pressure to Abort Baby With Microcephaly

International   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jul 26, 2016   |   9:52AM   |   Washington, DC

The first baby in Europe with birth defects linked to the Zika virus was born on Monday after the baby’s parents rejected abortion, Yahoo News reports.

The virus, a growing international health problem, has been linked to birth defects in newborns, one being microcephaly. The brain disorder is not typically fatal, but it can cause health problems throughout the child’s life. Abortion advocates have been using the link between the virus and microcephaly as an excuse to push for more abortions on babies with disabilities.

The baby who was born in Spain on Monday has microcephaly. According to the report, doctors did detect the condition before the baby was born; but the baby’s parents refused to have an abortion.

The mother and father of the newborn reportedly were “very excited” about their child’s birth. Doctors said both the mother and baby are doing well.

Here’s more from the report:

The mother, who has not been identified, caught the virus on a trip abroad but authorities have declined to say where. A hospital source said she was infected in Latin America, where the virus is prevalent.

“The baby did not require any resuscitation,” Felix Castillo, neonatal chief at the Vall d’Hebron hospital in Barcelona, told a press conference, adding that the infant’s vital signs were “normal and stable”.

The baby’s sex has not been revealed for privacy reasons.

The newborn’s health is being constantly “monitored” and initial tests confirm that “its head circumference is smaller than normal and that it has microcephaly”, Castillo added.

The baby was born by Caesarean section after 40 weeks of pregnancy.

In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control reported knowing of at least 300 pregnant women in the U.S. who are infected with the virus. Zika, which is carried by mosquitoes, already is a major problem in South and Central American countries, and experts predict that southern states in the U.S. will see more cases this summer.

The CDC said three babies have been born in the U.S. with birth defects linked to the Zika virus, while three more were either miscarried or aborted, according to The Hill.

The risk of microcephaly among women who contract Zika appears to be higher if her unborn baby is in the first trimester. Currently, researchers estimate that between 1 percent and 15 percent of pregnant women with Zika in the first trimester will have babies with birth defects, according to the Associated Press.

Abortions are being pushed on women who contract the virus, despite problems with diagnosing Zika and microcephaly. Health authorities say people who are infected with Zika do not necessarily show symptoms of the virus; and when they do, their symptoms can look like other illnesses. Similarly, conditions like microcephaly often are not diagnosed until unborn babies are at least 20 weeks along in the womb.

This means women who have or think they have Zika could be pressured to have early abortions without knowing whether their baby really has the disorder. If the moms wait until they are more certain of their baby’s diagnosis, they could be pressured to have a dangerous, late-term abortion when their unborn babies are viable outside the womb. Both situations are troubling.

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Families who have experiences with microcephaly also are countering abortion activists’ fear mongering, saying that women should be offered education about the condition and support – not abortion.

Kansas mother Gwen Hartley, who has two daughters with microcephaly, said she initially struggled when she learned about her daughters’ diagnosis, but today she believes they are a huge blessing to her family.

She encouraged mothers not to throw away their unborn babies’ lives because they are afraid.

“In the beginning, I was crushed,” Hartley said. “… But if you open your mind enough, you realize your whole life is in preparation for this moment, and this moment will make you better.”

There currently is no vaccine for Zika, but researchers say they are working on developing one.