Fears over the Zika virus have contributed to a “huge” increase in the number of women in Latin America wanting abortions, researchers say.
Estimates suggest there has been at least a doubling in requests in Brazil and an increase of a third in other countries.
Many governments have advised women not to get pregnant due to the risk of babies being born with tiny brains.
The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Sixty countries and territories have reported cases of Zika being spread by mosquitoes. More than 1,500 babies have been diagnosed with microcephaly caused by the virus.
A termination remains illegal in many parts of Latin America, but women simply turn to unofficial providers.
Women on Web, which advises women online and then delivers pills to end a pregnancy, is one of the largest.
The researchers analysed the thousands of requests received by Women on Web in the five years before the Pan American Health Organization issued its warning on Zika on 17 November 2015.
It used this to predict how many abortion requests would have been expected between 17 November 2015 and 1 March 2016.
The analysis of countries that advised against getting pregnant suggested Brazil and Ecuador had had more than twice the expected demand for abortions. READ MORE HERE
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