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Analysing the intersection between health emergencies and abortion during Zika in Brazil, El Salvador and Colombia

Wenham, Clare ORCID: 0000-0001-5378-3203, Abagaro, Camila, Arevalo, Amaral, Coast, Ernestina ORCID: 0000-0002-8703-307X, Corrêa, Sonia, Cuellar, Katherine, Leone, Tiziana ORCID: 0000-0001-9671-5382 and Valongueiro, Sandra (2021) Analysing the intersection between health emergencies and abortion during Zika in Brazil, El Salvador and Colombia. Social Science & Medicine, 270. ISSN 0277-9536

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.113671

Abstract

The Zika outbreak of 2015-7 is a lens to analyse the positioning of abortion within in global health security. The sequelae of the virus almost exclusively affected newborn children, manifested through Congenital Zika Syndrome (CZS), and a focus on women at risk of, planning or being pregnant. At the global level, debate considered whether Zika would provide impetus for regulatory change for reproductive rights in Latin America, a region with some of the most restrictive abortion regulation in the world. However, regulatory change for abortion did not occur. We analyse why the Zika health emergency did not lead to any changes in abortion regulation through multi-method analysis of the intersection between Zika, health emergencies and abortion in Brazil, Colombia and El Salvador. These case study countries were purposefully selected; each had Zika infected women (albeit with differing incidence) yet represent diverse regulatory environments for abortion. Our comparative research is multi-method: framework analysis of key informant interviews (n = 49); content analysis of women's enquiries to a medical abortion telemedicine provider; and, policy analysis of (inter)national-level Zika response and abortion policies. We consider this within literature on global health security, and the prioritisation of a particular approach to epidemic control. Within this securitized landscape, despite increased public debate about abortion regulatory change, no meaningful change occurred, due to a dominant epidemiological approach to the Zika health emergency in all three countries and prominent conservative forces in government and within anti-abortion rights movements. Simultaneously, we demonstrate that regulation did not deter all women from seeking such service clandestinely.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/social-scien...
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Health Policy
International Development
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2021 16:09
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2021 03:20
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/108166

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