by Steven Ertelt
July 31, 2007
Lisbon, Portugal (LifeNews.com) — An abortion practitioner in Spain has opened the first private abortion business in Portugal now that the western European nation has legalized abortion. The new law allowing abortions up to 10 weeks into the pregnancy went into effect on July 15 despite a handful of Portuguese citizens voting for it.
When abortion was illegal in the largely Catholic nation, Portuguese residents often went to Spain to have abortions at the facility run by Yolanda Hernandez.
Now, the owner of an abortion business for three decades has opened a new center in Portugal. The new business will be located on top of a hill on the important Lisbon thoroughfare Avenida da Liberdade and be called Dos Arcos.
The abortion center cost $4 million to build and staff and is part of a chain of abortion businesses Hernandez owns across the border in Spain that, she claims, has done as many as 10,000 abortions on Portuguese women.
According to a Los Angeles Times report, the new abortion center already has a staff of 22 people and is already quickly filling up appointments for abortions.
"We are the first clinic," Hernandez told the newspaper, saying she had been waiting for years for the opportunity to make money selling abortions in Portugal. "After us, many more will come along."
"The connection has always existed," Hernandez told the Times, saying that about 60 percent of her customers in Spain come form the neighboring country as women from the Portugal capital of Lisbon can travel to her clinics in just two-three hours.
Hernandez says the abortion facility is needed because numerous doctors have refused to do abortions.
Several public hospitals have already indicated they will not do them either because no doctors on staff will do abortions, even though the law requires the medical centers to make the available.
Hernandez told the newspaper that it will take some time for abortion to be accepted in Portugal and for women to come to her new facility because of the stigma associated with getting an abortion.
"With so many years of clandestinity, the fear has its impact," she said.
Some 58 percent of those voting said they favored making abortion legal but the vote didn’t count because half of the European nation’s voters needed to participate. Examined another way, just 26.2 percent of Portuguese voters backed legalizing abortion.
The ballot vote was the second time Portuguese voters turned back an initiative to legalize abortion.
The Times also interviewed gynecologist Joao Malta who works with a pro-life network of doctors who refuse to do abortions.
"I do not kill my patients," Malta said. "If I see an embryo that’s 2 1/2 millimeters, I can see a heart beating, and, for me, that’s a human being."
He indicated medical professionals in Portugal may start a campaign to try to reverse the new abortion law but said it would take time to put together.
With Portugal’s legalizing abortion, Poland, Ireland and Malta are the lone nations on the continent to have pro-life laws prohibiting abortions.