Pope Francis: Contraception May Be Okay In Wake Of Zika Virus

Feb 19, 2016

Pope Francis says contraception might be acceptable for women threatened by the Zika virus. 

File photo of Pope Francis during his visit to the U.S.
Credit Associated Press / NPR

John Peller with the AIDS Foundation of Chicago says that’s given him hope that the exception might extend to other communicable diseases.

“We’re glad to see that the Pope is opening the door to condom use in a public health emergency and we think it’s really high time that the church recognized the role that condoms can have as a critical public health tool,” Peller said. 

The Vatican was criticized in the past for refusing to endorse condoms to reduce HIV transmission. The Chicago archdiocese would not comment on the pope’s statement.

Meanwhile, Iowa health officials reported the state’s first Zika virus case. Public health officials say the victim, an older female, traveled in Central America.

Officials say the public isn't at risk of contracting the virus, typically spread by mosquitoes that aren't in Iowa.

  • The Associated Press and Illinois Public Radio's Patrick Smith contributed to this story.