Graffiti in Bogota, Colombia, calling for the decriminalization of abortion.

(WOMENSENEWS)—Governments in Latin America are drawing criticism for issuing directives at women in Latin America to avoid pregnancies as a means of curbing the Zika virus.

"Once again, governments put the burden on women to protect themselves from any risks," Paula Avila-Guillen, a programs specialist at the U.S.-based Center for Reproductive Rights, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. She said health ministries should also be addressing men's roles in the problem.

Monica Roa, vice president of strategy and external relations at the international rights group Women's Link Worldwide, which has regional offices in Latin America and Europe, said the burden should not rest on women alone.

"Women who are pregnant should have information about the possibility of interrupting the pregnancy if the law allows it in that country," Roa said in an interview with NPR on Jan. 27. "In the countries where the law doesn't allow for [abortion], I think the debate [about reproductive rights] should be on the table and discussed in the context [of the Zika virus infections]."


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