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11 Feb, 2007 06:15

Portugal votes on abortion

Portugal votes on abortion

Portugal has been voting on whether to lift a ban on abortion. Polls suggest the country – where the majority of population are Catholic – is ready to allow terminations in the first ten weeks of pregnancy.

The “yes” campaign is supported by the country's ruling Socialist Party and Prime Minister who has called the current abortion law “Portugal's most shameful wound”.

The procedure is only allowed until the 20th week of pregnancy if a woman has been raped, her health is in danger or if the foetus is malformed.

The Portuguese Catholic Church and conservative parties are strongly resisting attempts to lift restrictions.

A similar referendum held in 1998 was invalid as too few people voted.