By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

  PORTUGAL, October 22, 2007 ( – The Portuguese Health Minister has ordered the Portuguese Medical Association to eliminate its ethical prohibition on performing abortions, sparking protests from physicians and legal experts.

  Minister Antonio Correia de Campos, a socialist, is basing his directive on the fact that Portugal recently decriminalized all abortions during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy.  With the support of Portugal’s attorney general, he has declared that the Medical Association’s code conflicts with the new law, and has given them thirty days to eliminate the restriction.

  The Association’s current ethical code states that “doctors must maintain respect for human life from its beginning”, and “the practice of abortion constitutes a grave ethical failure”.

  The decision appears to follow a recent strategy used by the abortion lobby and pro-abortion politicians in Latin America, which equates decriminalization of abortion with a legal “right” to an abortion.  Although criminal penalties have been eliminated from the Portuguese legal code, the Constitution of Portugal still states that “human life shall be inviolable” and “the death penalty shall not exist under any circumstances.” 

  The decision to force the changes drew a sharp denunciation from Daniel Serrao, a doctor who previously headed the Ethical Commission of the Portuguese Medical Association, who stated that “any type of interference is completely unacceptable, from whomever it comes outside of the profession, regarding the way that doctors think they should relate to each other.”  The Portuguese Bar Association also issued a statement denouncing the decision as “arrogant and overbearing”. 

  Contact Information:

  Embassy of Portugal in the United States
  2125 Kalorama Rd., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008
  Phone: 202-328-8610
  Fax: 202-462-3726

  Embassy of Portugal in Canada
  645 Island Park Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, K1Y 0B8
  Tel.: (613)729-0883, Fax: (613)729-4236

  Embassy of Portugal in other countries:

  Previous coverage:

  Portugal Offers Free Abortions for Women Followed by Mandatory Education on Contraception

  Portuguese Parliament Approves Abortion – Waiting For Pro-Abortion PM’s Signature

  Portugal Abortion Bill Approved by Legislative Committee

  Portugal Government Shows Hypocrisy in Abortion Vote Bias

  Socialist Portugal Government to Introduce Abortion Vote January 2007

  Abortion-Pushing Socialists Elected in Portugal