Pope Francis announced that he has authorized the Catholic church to condone the use of condoms and other contraceptives in order to prevent the spread of the Zika Virus to the children of pregnant women, hoping to end the existence of microcephaly. The Mosquito-spread virus has resulted in thousands of cases of microcephaly, resulting in children born with unusually small heads. As a result, many women that have been diagnosed with the Zika Virus, or believe that they might have been in contact with it, have decided to abort their unborn babies. Most of the abortions are occurring in South American countries where the Zika Virus has ran rampant in recent months.
According to the Guardian, Pope Francis referred to a 1960s exception that permitted African nuns to use birth control, usually in pill form, in response to the wartime rapes that often occurred. Pope Francis stated that aborting an unborn child is an “absolute evil,” but also stated that preventing pregnancy is not the same as abortion.
“… avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil…”
However, according the NBC News, Pope Francis also stated that physicians should “do their utmost” to find a cure or vaccine for the Zika Virus, so contraception in the form of condoms is not made into the permanent band aid for the spread of the Zika Virus and the potential for microcephaly.
Bishop Leonardo Ulrich Steiner of Brazil reinforced that condoms are not the solution to the Zika Virus issue, claiming that the Catholic church has not changed its stance on the issue, but has instead simply loosened its regulations in an effort to prevent further spread.
“Contraceptives are not a solution. There is not a single change in the church’s position.”
Despite Pope Francis’ stance on allowing contraceptive use to prevent the spread of the Zika Virus (the CDC claims the Zika Virus has been found in semen) and microcephaly, he has not relaxed his stance on the use of condoms in the prevention and protection from the AIDS virus, HIV. Instead, he has backed up Pope Benedict’s stance on the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS and HIV.
“You can’t resolve it with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, it increases the problem.”
Instead of claiming that condoms can prevent the spread of AIDS and HIV, he has stated that it could lead to other sexually deviant and irresponsible behaviors, whereas disallowing their use would force individuals to be more responsible for their actions.
“In certain cases, where the intention is to reduce the risk of infection, it can nevertheless be a first step on the way to another, more humane sexuality.”
Pope Francis’ words are often followed as law within the firm believers of the Catholic Church. However, ultimately, it is up to the individual Catholics to decide what is best for them when it comes to the prevention of a sexually transmitted disease or unwanted pregnancies, at least in prosperous countries such as the United States and Rome. However, in developing countries, such as many African nations, there is a lack of education that would prevent the inhabitants from understanding the risk of not using contraceptives such as condoms. In those instances, the words of Pope Francis are the only information they have to follow in such cases.
In November of 2015, Pope Francis claimed that Africa has much bigger problems to solve than the use of condoms, although the epidemic of AIDS and HIV could be lessened by their use, relieving the countries of Africa from one major issue they are facing.
— Crux (@Crux) November 30, 2015
What are your thoughts on Pope Francis’ stance on the use of condoms against the Zika Virus and not AIDS?
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