Portuguese politicians react to overturn of Roe v Wade

Written By Lara Silva

At least half of US states are now predicted to overturn their abortion rights as the constitutional right to an abortion is no longer in place. When asked about the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade on Friday, the president of Portugal Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa preferred to not “comment on a decision taken by an organ of sovereignty”. Other politicians such as Prime Minister Antonio Costa took a stronger stance. 

However, the President went on to say that “it is best we are not surprised if, in the future, the Supreme Court takes similar positions in other areas, in the political or ideological sphere”.

Marcelo says that “this turn in the Supreme Court translates to a conservative position in the case of guns and a doctrinal one, I won’t say ideological, in the case of abortion”. 

Antonio Costa, the Socialist Prime Minister of Portugal showed his disappointment toward the decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion in the US. He wrote on Twitter that it is “impossible to not be disappointed by the decision of the Supreme Court of the US that paves the way to the criminalization of abortion”.

“I have always defended against the criminalization of questions of a political, religious, and ethical conscience. These are rights of women that every state must respect”, Antonio Costa wrote.

The leader of the Left Bloc, Catarina Martins said that the decision is a “setback for women’s rights” and that feminism is the fight for human rights which we must fight for every single day.

The Liberal Initiative sent out an official statement criticizing the overturn of Roe v Wade. “In the view of the Liberal Initiative, the decision by the Supreme Court of the USA represents a setback in the rights, freedoms, and guarantees of citizens, particularly women”, says the party.

Ines de Sousa Real, the only member of parliament for People Animals Nature (PAN) wrote on Twitter that access to abortion “does not push anyone to have an abortion, it allows abortions to be done safely”. She goes on to criticize how the right to bear guns is an “untouchable” right, but the safe access to abortion is not.

The party FREE, known as LIVRE in Portugal also took to Twitter to say that the Supreme Court decision “signifies a civilizational regression and limits the fundamental freedom of millions of women and girls”.

FREE goes on to say that overturning Roe v Wade will result in “perverse effects such as the worsening of socio-economic inequalities and in the access to education and employment”.

The US Supreme Court voted on Friday to overturn Roe v Wade, a landmark decision from 1973 that granted Americans the constitutional right to an abortion. The decision to overturn Roe v Wade was made in a 6-3 ruling, with all judges voting for it being conservative. Some Republican states will ban abortion immediately, while others will do so later. 

Is abortion legal in Portugal?

Yes. Abortion became legal in Portugal in 2007 through a national referendum where more than half of Portuguese voters voted to legalize it. However, abortions are only legal up to 10 weeks of pregnancy in Portugal (except for certain cases such as rape).

Since 2015, a mandatory three-day “reflection” period is in place and psychological counseling before ending a pregnancy became recommended, due to pressure from religious groups. 

Are abortions free in Portugal? Yes. However, they are not carried out in private hospitals, only in official public hospitals and establishments. Only the pregnant person can request an abortion. However, if they are mentally incapable or under 16 years old, a legal representative will need to request an abortion.

Women’s Rights in Portugal

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