Monday, February 12, 2007

Portugal fails to overturn strict abortion laws

Voters had the option to overturn strict abortion laws in the conservative Roman Catholic country of Portugal, but failed to do so because of low voter turnout. While 60% of voters did support allowing abortion up until the 10th week of pregnancy, Portugal's laws require that at least 50% of the population must vote in order for the process to be valid. For whatever reason, voter turnout was only around 44%, so the referendum will not pass. However, the Prime Minister is saying he's not going to be deterred by the turnout, and will instead create legislation legalizing early abortions.

I wonder if we'd ever get anything done if we had that sort of restriction on our own (American) election days. It would certainly at least prevent some of the issues we have now, though undoubtedly create others.

[Editor's note: Despite low voter turnout, Portugal's Socialist government said on Monday it would take immediate steps to decriminalise abortion after a referendum in which voters approved the liberalisation of one of Europe's most restrictive laws...
José Sócrates, the prime minister, said new legislation emulating the "best practices" of several European countries would be put before parliament as a matter of urgency. More here.]

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