When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

Zika Shouldn't Legitimize Abortions Of Imperfect Babies

Science and medicine have yet to demonstrate exactly how and when Zika affects the brain of a fetus, yet people are rushing to conclude that abortion is the logical choice. A journalist with his own physical limitations weighs in.

A pregnant woman getting an ultrasound in Recife, Brazil
A pregnant woman getting an ultrasound in Recife, Brazil
Jairo Marques*


SAN PAULO — Babies born with microcephaly have very little chance to live meaningful lives. Or so the conventional wisdom goes. I've been reading about the comments of parents, who say these babies "cry too much," that the damage to their brains is extensive, that they have visual impairments, among others.

Science and medicine have yet to demonstrate exactly how and when the Zika virus affects the brain of a fetus, and yet they say that babies born with it won't ever have a decent life, that they won't be able to navigate the challenges and become normal people.

And so out of all this has sprung the idea that abortion is the easiest and least dramatic solution for all, including society, which then wouldn't be burdened with the problem.

The idea is that to face the difficulties, to love and raise a child born in contradiction to what's considered normal would be a stupid, almost barbaric choice.

Raising a baby — any baby — comes with hidden challenges that test our beliefs and teach us different ways to face reality. All over the world, thousands of people live with rather incapacitating deficiencies of various kinds. With support, access to medical interventions from the very beginning and an understanding of their needs, many of them are able to grow up happily and contribute in meaningful ways.

This isn't about the right of women to make decisions they find most appropriate for their bodies and wombs. This is about stopping to question whether we should really legitimize the eradication of a generation.

Though they might be hiding some frustration and fear somewhere in their minds, each father and mother who embrace a son or a daughter with limitations loves every inch of them and laughs in their moments of silliness. Never would they abandon or give up on their child.

The tragedy of microcephaly has given rise to an outcry that had drowned the sounds of resilience and happiness among families, even those who are struggling with their children's disabilities.

I defend free will. But I can't accept or get used to the fact that this other choice, which is much more fragile, is being hidden. I can't accept or get used to the extreme reactions to a disease that hasn't yet been entirely mapped or understood. And I can't accept the attitude of pity towards those who decide to embrace their imperfect offspring and love them despite the certain challenges.

No, I wouldn't wish to have a child with microcephaly, who is constantly limited and who would consume most of my time, money and emotions. But I wouldn't decide to have or not have a baby with severe disabilities based on fear, vanity or supposed personal incapacities.

*Jairo Marques is a reporter who regularly writes about living with physical limitations. He has used a wheelchair since childhood.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


Is Disney's "Wish" Spreading A Subtle Anti-Christian Message To Kids?

Disney's new movie "Wish" is being touted as a new children's blockbuster to celebrate the company's 100th anniversary. But some Christians may see the portrayal of the villain as God-like and turning wishes into prayers as the ultimate denial of the true message of Christmas.

photo of a kid running out of a church

For the Christmas holiday season?

Joseph Holmes

Christians have always had a love-hate relationship with Disney since I can remember. Growing up in the Christian culture of the 1990s and early 2000s, all the Christian parents I knew loved watching Disney movies with their kids – but have always had an uncomfortable relationship with some of its messages. It was due to the constant Disney tropes of “follow your heart philosophy” and “junior knows best” disdain for authority figures like parents that angered so many. Even so, most Christians felt the benefits had outweighed the costs.

That all seems to have changed as of late, with Disney being hit more and more by claims from conservatives (including Christian conservatives) that Disney is pushing more and more radical progressive social agendas, This has coincided with a steep drop at the box office for Disney.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest