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Vatican to UN: Zika epidemic does not warrant attack on innocent victims

February 17, 2016

The world's response to the Zika epidemic "should not be dictated by panic but due vigilance," the Vatican delegation insisted in a statement to a UN discussion of the disease.

The Vatican supported calls for effective action to stop the spread of the disease, but questioned the rush to suggest that the Zika virus causes birth defects. In fact, the Vatican statement observed, the link between Zika and birth defects-- especially microcephaly-- has not been demonstrated. Further research, rather than a rash response, is required, the Vatican reasoned.

Further, the Vatican delegation protested the statements by some international leaders-- including UN officials-- who have called for efforts to promote contraception and broaden access to legal abortion as a response to the disease:

In this regard, we are deeply concerned by the recent call by some government officials, as well as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, for the liberalization of abortion laws and access to abortifacients as a means to prevent the birth of children with birth defects.

Even "a diagnosis of microcephaly in a child should not warrant a death sentence," the Vatican statement argued. The Holy See Mission said that an interational response that sought to wipe out the victims would be "the confirmation of a failure of the international community to stop the spread of the disease."

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