Portugal Abortion Referendum Fails, Government Moves to Legalize

See also: pre-referendum, an open letter regarding the issue (Romanian)

February 12, 2007: After a referendum on Portugal’s strict abortion laws failed due to low voter turn-out, the country’s Socialist government has announced that it will work to legalize abortion in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. Portuguese voters yesterday decisively voted to liberalize Portugal’s extremely strict abortion law, but the results were considered invalid because only 44 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot; for a referendum to be considered binding, at least half of the country’s eligible population must vote. Currently, Portuguese legislation allows for abortion only in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy if a woman’s health or life is at risk. Women pregnant because of rape may be considered for an abortion until the 16th week.

Luis Marques Mendes, who heads the Social Democratic Party, remarked, “The will of the Portuguese must be respected,” the BBC reports, suggesting that opposition parties will not attempt to veto new legislation that would liberalize the country’s laws. Supporters of lifting the abortion ban cited over 23,000 illegal abortions performed yearly. Currently Portugal’s abortion practices are some of most restrictive in the European Union. … more

— from the Global Feminist Daily Newswire

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