From Rubella to Roe v. Wade | WBEZ
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From Rubella to Roe v. Wade

This week, the Supreme Court upheld constitutional protections for abortion rights. 

To mark the occasion we have a story about the history of abortion in the US that first aired last winter, when the spread of Zika and the resulting deformities in newborns was causing panic across South and Central America. Abortion is illegal in those traditionally Catholic countries, but so many women were giving birth to babies with microcephaly and the brain damage associated with it, that the UN high commissioner for human rights urged a widespread repeal of abortion bans.

You may be surprised to know this wasn’t the first time an epidemic influenced the abortion debate. Leslie Reagan of the University of Illinois says it happened in the US, 50 years ago -- and the epidemic was Rubella, or German measles


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