by Steven Ertelt
August 27, 2004
Lisbon, Portugal (LifeNews.com) — Portuguese lawmakers want their country’s government to prohibit the Dutch abortion ship from docking when it reaches port this weekend. The abortion boat will arrive at an undisclosed location on Sunday and stay for two weeks handing out abortion drugs and information on birth control.
Two members of the Portuguese parliament from the ruling center-right Social Democratic Party said Portuguese women should be prevented from boarding the abortion ship.
Lawmaker Maria Isilda Pegado told daily newspaper Publico said she thought the abortion ship was a "provocation against Portuguese sovereignty."
Antonio Pinheiro Torres, another MP from a heavily Catholic district, said the ship was aiding Portuguese residents in the violation of law.
"The government can’t consent that a crime be practiced. Imagine if the crime was pedophilia," Torres said.
Meanwhile, Joao Paulo Carvalho, the president of the Portuguese Federation for Life, a large pro-life group in Portugal, called on lawmakers to use "all the legal means at their disposal to prevent the ship from entering national waters."
Carvalho told the weekly newspaper O Independente, "It is the same thing if, for example, a Dutch ship which carries out euthanasia decided to come here and collect old people to kill them on the high seas. Would anyone permit the entry of the old people on the ship?"
The four pro-abortion Portuguese groups that invited the abortion boat to the country told the French Press Agency that they have received calls from dozens of women who want to board the ship.
Earlier this week, a member of the Portuguese defense ministry told the Lusa news agency that Portuguese officials have "been following since the first minutes the alleged intention of the so-called abortion boat to pass through Portuguese waters and dock at a national port."
"The state does not react to publicity stunts but it will act promptly, adequately and proportionately, if and when it has to act, to ensure the respect of national sovereignty and international maritime rights," the unnamed official told Lusa.
Abortion is only allowed as a last resort to save the life of the mother in Portugal, a Catholic country in western Europe.
However, operators of the abortion boat will said Portuguese women out to international waters, where the pro-abortion Dutch law would apply.
Because of a restriction placed on the boat by the Dutch government, staff cannot perform surgical abortions outside of a 16 mile radius of Amsterdam to ensure that women who are injured by a botched abortion can be hospitalized quickly.
However, pro-life advocates say the distribution of the mifepristone abortion drug can be just as dangerous. Women in California and Sweden have died recently as a result of the drug.
"RU 486 has been shown both in studies and anecdotally to be harmful and dangerous to women," Laura Echevarria, a National Right to Life spokeswoman told LifeNews.com. "We think it is shameful that women continue to be exploited for political gains."
The makers of the drug and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have said that RU 486 can be fatal if women with ectopic pregnancies use it. At least two women have died as a result of complications associated with use of the abortion drug an ectopic pregnancy.
Before using the drug, women are advised to have an ultrasound to ensure the baby is developing normally.
There is no word on whether staff on the abortion boat will offer women ultrasounds prior to dispensing the abortion drug.