On board the plane from Mexico to Rome, Pope Francis makes a stand regarding contraceptives that may upset Catholics. However, the Pope’s stance is all because of the persistent Zika virus.
During a press conference in-flight, the Pope was asked if the Church would consider the use of contraception as opposed to the possibility that women would result to abortion should their fetuses be infected with Zika. After all, the neurological birth defect linked to the virus is said to be incurable. In this case, contraception would seem like the “lesser of two evils.”
To this, the Pope said that “avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil.” And in certain cases, such as the ones where a mother discovers that her unborn child has a neurological birth defect that cannot be cured, he also said “it was clear.” He likened the situation the time his predecessor Blessed Paul VI had allowed the use of contraceptives among nuns in Africa for cases of rape.
Nonetheless, the Pope stressed that abortion is absolutely “not the lesser of two evils.” It is actually a crime. He likened the act of having a baby aborted to “what the Mafia does.” That is, “It is to throw someone out in order to save another.” On the other hand, the Pope referred to the act of avoiding pregnancy as a “lesser evil,” although it creates a “difficult conflict” between the fifth and sixth commandment.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has been vocal about the need to use emergency contraception in countries where the Zika virus is prevalent and women engage in unprotected sex. Moreover, contraceptives should be made available to women who wish to postpone their pregnancy due to their concerns regarding Zika and microcephaly.