Portugal Abortion Referendum Makes Democracy Look Like Tyranny

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 11, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Portugal Abortion Referendum Makes Democracy Look Like Tyranny Email this article
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by Martin Helme
December 11, 2006

LifeNews.com Note: Martin Helme is the editor for world news at Delfi.ee, the biggest internet based media outlet in Estonia. From 2000 to 2004 he worked as program manager in the Open Estonia Foundation, as a philosophy teacher, museum director and head of PR at the Estonian Chamber of Notaries.

Next January Portugal is holding a referendum on abortion. The governing Socialists will ask the people the same question that the last Socialist government asked in 1998. Then people gave the wrong answer. Hence they are being asked again whether they want to loosen the abortion law.

Portugal has a strict abortion regulation, resembling Poland’s. Both countries are thoroughly Christian. In both countries abortion is forbidden. A woman can only have her fetus killed in the first months of pregnancy if the conception is the result of rape or if the pregnancy endangers the mother’s health or when the fetus is malformed.

Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

Killing the most defenseless and helpless beings by those who should be protecting and nurturing them is simply wrong no matter from what angle one looks at it. But even such a reasonable concession – and it is a concession because it is hard to justify abortion in moral terms even in the case of rape – is not enough for the builders of the brave new society.

The Left can never have enough. The social order which they are constructing holds nothing sacred. The people, those simpletons who toil in “prejudice” and “intolerance,” must be forced to change their morals by enlightened social engineers, whose cheerleaders are the mainstream media.

I did a thorough search in the English language media to see how the Portuguese abortion referendum was reported. Again and again they mentioned that Portugal was retrograde from rest of the Europe. A nation that is not marching in line with the rest of Europe because it is not destroying thousands of its children every year is considered backward.

I also found statistics on how many abortions there are in Portugal every year despite the restrictions. Different sources put the number between 20,000 to 40,000 a year. A considerable number for a nation of a mere ten million. Almost all these abortions are illegal. I learned that in about 4,000 cases of these illegal abortions there are complications.

The numbers may be roughly true, but they tell us nothing without context. For instance, is depression, which is quite common after an abortion, included in the statistics of “complications”?

Nowhere could I find information on the ratio of abortions to the number of children born. In Estonia we have one abortion per birth. I doubt whether the figure is as high as this in Portugal. The Portuguese population is about seven times larger than Estonia’s and yet we have only twice as many abortions as they. Their natural growth for every 1,000 people is 10, ours is 8.4.

The majority of the illegal abortions on Portuguese children are not performed in Portugal, because women travel abroad to have them. Hence, the question is not really whether or not Portuguese women are able to have abortions – they can and do have them, if they bother to drive a few hundred kilometers. The ultimate question is what set of moral norms are officially enforced in the society. Not once did I see in the media the arguments put forward by those who oppose abortion. The main argument made in the media is that every other European country allows abortion, so Portugal must fall in line with the rest of Europe.

At this point, it is befitting to draw a parallel with another phenomenon – namely gay marriage. Almost all gay activists admit that there is no persecution of homosexuals. Moreover, most gays care very little about whether or not they have the opportunity to formalize their conjugal partnership under the name of “marriage” since such partnerships can be codified by other means. What the gay activists want with their demand for gay marriage is to use the power of the state in order to impose a new attitude, a new set of values, on the people.

Whether the issue is abortion or gay marriage, resistance must be crushed. And since the majority of society cannot be convinced through peaceful debate to abandon the moral norms and attitudes that have been in place for centuries and that most people find reasonable and normal, the radicals have found another way to reach their goal. The power of the state is brought in to dictate what is now okay. The position taken by the government has become the decisive argument. Not whether abortion is right or wrong, whether it is good or evil, justified or not. That is no longer the subject of debate. Dissent is suffocated with the argument that you may not like it, but the state recognizes it and therefore it is compulsory for you to accept it.

There is little doubt that the Portuguese should be prepared for the same sort of brainwashing that other countries experienced before the referendums on joining the EU or the referendums on the EU constitution. Portugal’s own government and all sorts of EU institutions are subsidizing the pro-abortion campaign in order to obtain the desired result. Government officials tell the people that they have to fall in line with the rest of Europe.

But worst of all, if the people again vote the wrong way, one can be sure that their answer will not be accepted and in a few years’ time they will have to vote again. Just as the Danes had to vote over and over again until they approved the Maastricht Treaty, just as the Irish had to vote over and over again until they voted “yes” to the Nice Treaty, just as the Dutch and French will have to vote again on the EU Constitution until they vote the way the politicians want, so will the Portuguese have to vote until they approve abortion. Once they do this, however, the voting is over and the people will not be allowed to change their minds. European democracy in the beginning of the 21st century can be summed up as follows: if for some reason the voters do not vote the way they are expected to vote, the results are simply dismissed. Never before have democracy and tyranny looked so alike.