When Brazilian health official Claudio Maierovitch in December first raised the idea of asking women to delay their pregnancies because of the Zika virus, it came as a shock. Women rights groups decried what they saw as unprecedented government meddling in what should be a private matter. Doctors questioned the practicality of the advice. And some political experts took it as a desperate sign that the country lacked a coherent strategy to fight the rapidly spreading virus.

But then Ecuador followed suit. And Colombia, Jamaica and El Salvador. El Salvador’s plea was the most drastic: asking women to avoid becoming pregnant for a full two years, until 2018. The situation has left many women in the region struggling with what to do. Latin America is where the virus — suspected of causing babies to be born with a condition called microcephaly, which results in unusually small heads and brains — is most prevalent. It is also predominantly Roman Catholic, and getting access to modern birth control methods like condoms and pills can be a challenge. FULL REPORT