In Malaysia, which is a Muslim majority country, the debate whether abortion in women that are infected with the Zika virus cases should be legal is on.

The Federal Territories’ ‘mufti’ religious leader declared on his official website that women that are infected with the virus are allowed to have an abortion.

The declaration comes after he cited a decision of the Islamic Judicial Council of the Muslim World League that dates back to 1900 which says that abortion is legal in some cases, specifically those of thalassemia, a disorder of the blood.

“We are inclined towards the decision by the Islamic Juridical Council regarding thalassemia that can be referred to for the Zika virus issue if studies from trusted medical experts show that fetuses infected with the Zika virus may have various disabilities that could affect the family’s life and that of the baby itself. In such circumstances, consent from both parents who have obtained clear understanding about the issue can be taken into account to abort the fetus,” said the mufti.

Hearing about this, the government was strictly against it, saying that under the Malaysian law a woman can have an abortion only if her life is in danger and the Zika virus doesn’t put the mother’s life at risk.

A doctor stated that only a number of women that are infected with the virus actually give birth to children with disabilities, their number being from 1%-5% , while the other more than 90% will be just fine.

It is known that this infection is caused by a microorganism of the flavivirus type and is transmitted by mosquitoes, especially female mosquitoes from the Aedes aegypti family. There is evidence of the possibility of transmission of this transplacental virus from the mother to the fetus or during labor if the mother is in the viremic phase. The transmission of the virus from mother to fetus causes fetal or neonatal microcephaly.

Microcephaly is the excessive decrease of the fetal head and the possibility of an insufficient development of the brain, leading to delaying the mental development.