Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 27th 2016 Contents A12
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Head of the Inter Religious Organisation (IRO),
Brother Harrypersad Maharaj says even if the Zika
virus enters T&T, there is no need for pregnant
women to consider abortion out of fear their babies
may be born with microcephaly.
Maharaj said there are babies born every day with
autism and cerebral palsy, and microcephaly pales
in comparison with these conditions.
Microcephaly is a rare neurological condition in
which an infant s head is noticeably small.
Sometimes detected at birth, microcephaly usually
is the result of the brain developing abnormally in
the womb or not growing as it should after birth.
Complications of microcephaly include develop-
mental delays, such as in speech and movement, dif-
ficulties with coordination and balance, dwarfism or
short stature, facial distortion, hyperactivity, mental
retardation and seizures.
"Here we are talking about the Zika virus, where
there isn t one single case that they can clearly confirm
that it affects the children anything close to autism
or cerebral palsy," Maharaj told the T&T Guardian.
"Therefore the question of abortion is totally out.
"And, in fact, I am saying further, based on my
limited knowledge of the virus that I have, that not
even the fear (of the virus) should be there that your
child is going to be deformed or otherwise."
Maharaj said if the virus, for which there is no
vaccine or treatment, reached T&T, expectant mothers
should have "positive thoughts."
"Have positive thoughts that your child is going
to be in that percentage that the virus does not affect,
that your child will be healthy. Therefore, there is
no need for the mother to consider abortion."
Asked whether he believes women should have
the right to decide whether they want to raise a child
with microcephaly, Maharaj said, "And the question
of rights? My word, I get fed up of that, everybody
has rights in the world, everybody think that they
Contacted for comment yesterday, Health Minister
Terrence Deyalsingh said the question of abortion
for mothers who contract Zika is one that can only
be answered after deep thought.
"I cannot give an off the cuff remark," he said.
IRO against abortions for
Zika-infected pregnancies Former health minister Dr Fuad Khan
said the Government needs to put the
issue of abortion on the front burner for
"Any government worth its salt should
put that on the front burner for
discussion, rather than turning a blind
eye," Khan said. "If you see foresee
angering the religious bodies, you have to
take care of the population and take care
of women and children."
However, Khan himself stayed away
from making any definitive statement on
abortion for expectant mothers who
contract the Zika virus.
"That is a question that no politician will
answer, because no party, no leader will
answer. You will be putting your party at a
risk of angering the religious bodies and
angering the people.
"Now as a doctor, I know what I will do
and as an individual, I know what I will do,
but as a person belonging to a party, I
can't answer that."
Khan said the issue needs to be
ventilated because there are still too
many deaths and injuries from backdoor
"It needs to be addressed in this
country. There have been a lot of
backstreet, backdoor terminations and a
lot of women have lost their lives, a lot of
women have become sterile because of
poor techniques. A lot of women have had
their uterus punctured and their bowels
ripped because of poor technique."
FUAD: NO POLITICIAN WILL ANSWER THAT
President Anthony Carmona, flanked by newly-
appointed members of the Salaries Review
Commission (SRC), following Monday's
presentation of appointment letters at the Office
of the President in St Ann's. At left is Yukmai
Marsang, former vice president of Atlantic, and
Professor Surendra Arjoon.
PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
GETTING IT RIGHT
The caption in this photo published on Page A5
of yesterday's newspaper was incorrect. The
error is regretted.
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