NewsThu Nov 22, 2007 - 12:15 pm EST
Portuguese Government to Prosecute Doctors Group Over “Illegal” Anti-Abortion Ethics Policy
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
PORTUGAL, November 22, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Since October of this year the Portuguese Medical Association has resisted repeated threats of legal action by the socialist-dominated government for refusing to accept abortion in its code of ethics. Now, the pro-abortion Portuguese Health Minister Antonio Correia de Campos says he will begin procedures against the organization through the office of the Attorney General.
"The thinking of the Attorney General of the Republic is very clear and establishes that a special administrative action should be carried out to address the illegal nature of some articles in the ethical code of the Medical Association," said Correia de Campos. "And therefore what we are going to do is share with the MP (Justice Department) that the OM (Medical Association) is unwilling to fulfill these dispositions."
Medical Association spokesman Pedro Nunes maintains that the code, which states that "doctors must maintain respect for human life from its beginning", and "the practice of abortion constitutes a grave ethical failure", will not be applied to those who choose to do abortions. However, the Association wishes to maintain the code "as a moral reserve, allowing a space for conscientious objection."
The controversy arises out of the fact that earlier this year Portugal’s socialist government decriminalized all abortions during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (see previous LifeSiteNews coverage at http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/mar/07030901.html). Correia de Campos insists that "Anyone can have his own personal or collective code of ethics, but collective codes of ethics cannot go against the general law of the country," and complains that "the Association absolutely refuses to negotiate its principles."
Although the Medical Association has acknowledged the possibility that its members might change the code at their annual meeting next year, this is not enough for Correia de Campos.
"That’s not going to stop the process," he said in a recent interview. "I am going to immediately begin the mechanism (together wtih the Public Ministry), but if the doctors, by their own free and spontaneous will, and through the Medical Association, make that decision, the process will no longer have an object. Having conformed to what was requsted and initially rejected, we will all be satisfied and we will all win."
Nunes is unimpressed. "This is a Ministry with so many concerns, which is experiencing enormous financial problems, which is falling apart, and would therefore need the support of all health professionals so that it can function, but is seeking to distract public opinion, sending a message that physicians are ultra-conservatives and that it is impossible to work with them," he said in a recent interview. "The Ministry is making a little game out of public opinion."
Embassy of Portugal in the United States
2125 Kalorama Rd., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008
Embassy of Portugal in Canada
645 Island Park Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, K1Y 0B8, Canada
Tel.: (613)729-0883, Fax: (613)729-4236
Embassy of Portugal in other countries: http://www.embassyworld.com/embassy/portugal1.htm
Previous LifeSiteNews coverage:
Portuguese Government Orders Doctors to Remove Anti-Abortion Restrictions from Code of Ethics
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