SPAIN – A twelve-year-old court case involving abortion is to be decided in the next two weeks in Spain, renewing debate in the country on the issue. In the 1980’s, police raided a private abortuary in Malaga where illegal abortions were being done. Over 10,000 abortions were committed in the clinic before police closed it down. The sentencing of the abortionists will be politically charged since Spain’s current abortion law is so lax that mothers who wish to end the lives of their preborn flock to Spain from Portugal, Morocco and France. The abortionists could be imprisoned for 23 years each if convicted. The nurses are also being prosecuted. PORTUGAL – Yesterday, Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio called for the first referendum ever to be held in the country. Although the ruling socialist government teamed up with the communist party to force through a measure liberalizing the country’s abortion laws, civil unrest has led to the item being put before the people. On June 28, Portuguese voters will be asked whether they “agree with the de-criminalisation of the voluntary interruption of pregnancy, if carried out at the decision of the woman and in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy in a legally authorised clinic.” ALGERIA – On Monday, Algeria’s ruling religious body issued a fatwa (religious ruling) reinstating the country’s strong stand against the murder of children in the womb. Liberal elements in the Algerian government sought earlier this month to legalize abortion in the case of rape and the Algerian Arabic-language newspaper Al Khabar reported that the Supreme Islamic Council had agreed. However, a summary of the latest fatwa signed by the Islamic Supreme Council head Abdelmajid Meziane and printed in Algeria’s main newspapers declared: “Abortion is a criminal action and is banned except for extreme cases…A raped woman is an innocent and virtuous woman. Any one who harms her honour should be prosecuted and punished.” It also urged the state to provide help for rape victims who want to bring up their babies. FRANCE – Elisabeth Guigou, France’s justice minister said Monday that the socialist government would grant active homosexuals the same legal benefits as married couples. However, she angered homosexual activists by ruling out marriage and adoption. “There should be no ambiguity about the possibility of homosexuals marrying or adopting children. That must be very clear in the text. It’s not possible,” Guigou told France Inter radio.