12 February 2007
Abortion Rights, the national pro-choice campaign has welcomed the result of Sunday’s Portuguese referendum on abortion. Almost 60 per cent of voters supported the decriminalisation of abortion within the first 10 weeks. Although the turnout was low, the Portuguese Prime Minister, Jose Socrates, has said that his government will liberalise the law on abortion in line with the vote.
The vote draws the UK situation into sharp relief. It leaves Northern Ireland as one of only four European countries including, Ireland, Poland and Malta to deny women safe, legal abortion. It leaves Britain, 40 years after the Abortion Act as one of only a handful of countries where women don’t have the right to make their own abortion decisions. And it reminds us that women’s reproductive rights are not set in stone, they are won through campaigning.
On the 3rd of March, ahead of International Women’s Day, Abortion Rights will be launching a major push for a modern law in the UK where women, not doctors, can make their own abortion decisions. It is time the UK law was brought into line with overwhelming public opinion and with European laws.