Pope suggests people can use contraception to avoid Zika virus

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Pope Francis suggested Wednesday that people could use contraception if they are trying to avoid getting pregnant because of the Zika virus despite the Catholic Church’s long-standing opposition to birth control.

{mosads}The Zika virus is believed to be linked to a birth defect known as microcephaly that can cause developmental problems in children. 

Pope Francis completely ruled out saying that abortion is acceptable, saying it is an “absolute evil,” according to the New York Times.  

But he took a softer stance on contraception, citing Pope Paul VI’s decision to allow nuns to use contraception because of the threat of rape in the Belgian Congo in the 1960s, the Times reports. 

“Avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil,” Francis said. “In certain cases, as in this one, as in that one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear. I would also urge doctors to do their utmost to find vaccines against these mosquitoes that carry this disease.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also advised people use condoms if they have recently returned from an area with Zika virus. While the virus is mostly transmitted through mosquitoes, it can also be transmitted through sex.

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