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Report: Portugal legalizes abortion

April 12, 2007


Portugal will soon have abortion available on demand up until the 10th week of pregnancy, following President Anibal Cavaco Silva’s ratification of a new law on Tuesday.

Despite referring to abortion as “a social evil to be avoided,” the president gave formal consent to the law removing restrictions on early-term abortion access. As a concession of sorts to opponents of the legislation, President Silva recommended the addition of measures that would discourage women from seeking an abortion—women requesting an abortion should be shown an ultrasound of their child beforehand, he wrote in a statement, and pro-life doctors should be permitted to offer counsel against the abortion, according to an Associated Press report.

As well, information about adoption should be made available to the women and they should be informed about the physical and psychological damage caused by abortion.

Parliamentary leader Alberto Martins, with the ruling Socialist Party, said that while the president’s recommendations would be considered, there were no plans to modify the law. The only restriction included in the new law is a mandatory three-day “cooling-off” period before a woman’s child is aborted.

The Socialist Party campaigned heavily in favour of a law change permitting abortions during a nation-wide referendum on the issue in February. Despite invalidation due to low voter turn-out, the government used the referendum results to push through the controversial legislation.

The Portuguese parliament approved the legislation early in March. The law will go into effect once it is officially entered into the country’s records sometime within the next month.

Portugal has had relatively stringent laws in place against abortion up to this point, permitting it only in cases of rape, serious physical deformity of the child, or when the health of the mother is at risk and only up until twelve weeks gestation.

To contact President Silva:

Palácio de Belém
Calçada da Ajuda, nº 11
1349-022 Lisboa (Portugal)
Phone: (+351) 21 361 46 00


From → Reports

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