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Abortion referendum likely in Portugal

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Abortion referendum likely in Portugal


The people of Portugal are likely to vote on legalising abortion once again eight years after a referendum that resulted in a “No” vote by a tiny majority. The ruling Socialist party and opposition Social Democrats have agreed on January next year as a possible date, though the final decision on whether it would take place would be in the hands of the President.

The Socialist Party presented its referendum proposal on Friday. Party spokesman Alberto Martins said the party would “really fight for the right to abortion, to end legislation it considers socially unjust and which it sees as a disgrace for Portugal in terms of a modern European country”.

A spokesman for the opposition Christian Democrats, Nuno Melo, reiterated his party’s determination to keep current anti-abortion legislation in place. “We are opposed to a liberalisation of abortion as a matter of principle. Proposals like this are not going to make us shift our position. Do not expect a change of heart from the Christian Democrats in parliament on this.” Portugal voted against legalising abortion by 50.07 percent in 1998. The referendum in January next year – if passed – would allow abortion within the first ten weeks of pregnancy.

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