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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Pope Francis OKs contraception for Zika

In the news, Pope suggests contraceptives could be used to slow spread of Zika ...

Pope Francis indicated contraceptives may be used to prevent the spread of the Zika virus, despite the church's longstanding ban on most forms of birth control. His comments may cheer health officials in Latin America but are likely to upset conservative Catholics. At a press conference aboard a flight from Mexico to Rome on Thursday, the Pope was asked if the church should consider contraception the "lesser of two evils" compared with the possibility of women aborting fetuses infected with Zika. The virus has been linked to an incurable and often devastating neurological birth defect .... The Pope then pointed to a narrow exception to the church's ban on most forms of birth control: His predecessor, Pope Paul VI, allowed African nuns to use contraceptives "in cases of rape," Francis said. He did not explain the circumstances or what forms of birth control were used. "In certain cases ... such as the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear," the Pope said ...

More from NCR - Francis signals opening on contraceptives in deadly Zika cases

Hopefully, this will convince governments in Catholic dominated Latin American countries to make cheap and effective contraceptives available to women. Unsurprisingly, he didn't change his stance on abortion - he still thinks it's wrong - but even this conditional concession on contraception is kind of a surprise ... I'm now counting the minutes until the Vatican press office contradicts what the Pope just said.

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