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Catholic World News News Feature

Liberal abortion law takes effect in Portugal April 11, 2007

Portugal's President Anibal Cavaco Silva has ratified the country's new law allowing abortion on demand through the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Although he said that abortion is "a social evil," and urged efforts to encourage women not to abort, the Portuguese leader signed into law a bill that the nation's parliament had approved in March.

Portugal now joins most of the European Union nations in providing liberal access to legal abortion. Only Ireland, Malta, and Poland retain laws that ban abortion in most cases.

Portugal's previously restrictive law was changed in March, after a majority of voters in a February nationwide referendum had indicated support for a more liberal law. Although the referendum was not binding, Prime Minister José Socrates cited the vote as justification for his legislative initiative.