Pope Francis suggests women threatened by Zika virus could use contraceptives

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ROME — Pope Francis indicated Thursday that contraceptives might be used to prevent the transmission of the Zika virus.

The pope responded to a question during a flight on the papal plane, about whether the Catholic Church should allow contraceptives in the cases of mothers who might be trying to avoid pregnancy because of the virus.

“The great (Pope) Paul VI, in a difficult situation in Africa, permitted nuns to use contraceptives in cases of rape,” he said.

Francis also called on doctors to find a vaccine against the mosquitoes.

“On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In certain cases, as in this one, such as the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear,” the pope said. “I would also urge doctors to do their utmost to find vaccines against these mosquitoes that carry this disease. This needs to be worked on.”

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