Portugal Sees Less Than Half the Number of Abortions Officials Expected

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 4, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
October 4,

Lisbon, Portugal (LifeNews.com) — A leading health official in Portugal says the western European nation is seeing less than half of the number of abortions done there as expected when it recently legalized abortion. Currently about 25 abortions are done on a daily basis there, which averages out to about 9,000 abortions over the court of a year.

Jorge Branco, coordinator of the National Reproductive Health Programme, says the number is less than half of what he and others predicted.

He said the figures are based on numbers from public hospitals and private abortion centers and called them a "photograph" of how many abortions are done in Portugal.

Branco told the Portugal News that about 20,000 abortions were expected to be done annually after the nation’s parliament legalized abortion despite a public vote failing to do so.

The number of abortions in Portugal could increase, however, as the Viana do Castelo will become the first to sell women the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug. The mifepristone abortion pill has killed more than a dozen women worldwide, with deaths in the U.S., Canada, England, France and Sweden.

Abortion centers in Penafiel and Amarante e Paredes will have the abortion drug by the end of the year the News reported.

In August, a report from the National Health Service found 526 abortions had been done since the abortion law took effect in July.

The new law allowing abortions up to 10 weeks into the pregnancy went into effect on July 15 despite a small percentage of Portuguese citizens voting for it.

According to the figures, Lisbon and Oporto, the nation’s two largest cities, reported the highest number of abortions. Together, abortions done there combined for 75 percent of the total number done nationwide.

The government’s health service reported 284 abortions on women from Lisbon, another 117 in Oporto, and 83 on women in central Portugal.

In Alentejo, 19 women had abortions and 23 women from Algarve had them.

With Portugal’s legalizing abortion, Poland, Ireland and Malta are the lone nations on the continent to have pro-life laws prohibiting abortions.