Poll supports abortion reform

Most Portuguese support a new referendum on abortion and more than half are in favour of its decriminalisation, according to a poll revealed by Portuguese daily newspaper, Diário de Notícias.

The poll showed that an overwhelming majority, 76.9 per cent, are in favour of a new referendum, seven per cent are opposed and 16.2 per cent are undecided. Socialist party supporters, perhaps understandably, were the respondents who most supported a new referendum (85 per cent), while only 43 per cent of the ruling centre-right PSD party’s supporters backed another vote. On the controversial issue of amendments to the Portuguese law, 59.2 per cent of those questioned maintained that abortion should be decriminalised, 30.1 per cent supported the status quo and 10.6 per cent offered no opinion.

The findings come in the aftermath of the so-called ‘abortion boat’ episode. The boat, operated by the pro-abortion Dutch group ‘Women on Waves’, docked near the Portuguese coast, triggering fresh debate on the issue. Defence Minister, Paulo Portas, had prevented the boat from entering Portuguese waters, a decision that was opposed by 56 per cent of those questioned in the poll.