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Country index  > Portugal


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Abortion referendum in Portugal

> Alda SOUSA, Europe solidaire sans frontières, 15 janvier 2007 (...)

February 11th will be a major day in Portuguese political and social life. A second national referendum will take place around the issue of abortion.
Portugal still has a restrictive law concerning abortion. Up to 1984, abortion was considered a criminal offence and women who had had an abortion could face up to 8 years in prison. Ten years after the Portuguese revolution, a small change was introduced into the penal code. If a woman asked for an abortion when she became pregnant as a consequence of rape, in case of probable birth defects or serious illness of the child to be or in case of danger to the women’s health, abortion was no longer to be considered as a crime.
But abortion on women’s demand up to 10 weeks of pregnancy was only discussed in Parliament much later, in 1998. Although the proposal won by one vote, both the Socialist Party and the Social Democratic Party agreed that the issue should be resolved by a referendum and not by Parliament. The question put to referendum now is exactly the same as in 1998 : « Do you agree with decriminalisation of abortion when requested on women’s demand, up to 10 weeks of pregnancy, and performed in an authorized clinic? » Read more  read

date of on-line publication : 6 February 2007

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