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Pregnant woman has Zika virus

Saturday, April 2 2016

A 23-year-old woman of the Belmont area has been confirmed as this country’s first pregnant woman who has tested positve with the Zika virus .

This was announced by Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh yesterday during a weekly news conference at the Health Ministry, Park Street, Port-of Spain .

The woman is said to be 13 weeks pregnant. Now, there were concerns whether the woman’s baby could be infected with microcephaly which has been linked to the Zika virus, carried by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito .

The question now was whether a woman who was carrying a baby with microcephaly had a choice of carrying a baby who may be affected mentally or physically, or having an abortion. According to specialist obstetrician/gynaecologist, Dr Sherene Kalloo, there were no rights for abortion in this country except if a pregnancy affected a mother physically, mentally or emotionally, or if she had a heart disease and could die of the pregnancy .

Kalloo said an abortion could be done legally, but only with the consultation of two consultants in obstetrics .

She said women were left with no choice but to go to back street abortionists .

“A wholecan of worms”, she said would erupt .

“If a woman is pregnant with a baby with microcephaly as a result of the Zika virus, we as consultants can say that the mother is emotionally and mentally affected by it and then legally, an abortion can be done,” she said .

Kalloo said at 13 weeks, the foetus was now undergoing neurological development whilst in the process of the neurological system, and microcephaly is related to the neurological system .

Deyalsingh said the mother would be monitored along with the development of her baby .

“This is where it is critical if indeed it is associated with Zika that we are able to monitor the baby at this stage of the pregnancy. Between 18 to 20 weeks we can detect if there is any evidence at all of the effect of microcephaly,” Kalloo said. The OB/GYN said most people did not want to even think about the option of abortion, but in some cases, it would help both parents and the baby in the furture .

“Some people do not want to go down that road. In our society our women have no choice. We should as women have an option as to what happens to our bodies, what happens to our children. Yes, I have respect for the religious groups and what they think and they should have the choice as well. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way a pro abortionist... I am against abortion, but I feel if it is in you are in a situation where a baby is reduced to having a brain tissue and, may most of the time depending on the severity, have problems with the development in terms of speech, standing, sitting, feeding, intellect... if that is the case then a woman should have a right.” Kalloo said .



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