Portuguese abortion referendum, 2007

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An abortion referendum took place in Portugal on 11 February 2007, to decide whether to legalise abortion up to ten weeks. The referendum was the fulfillment of an election pledge by the governing Socialist Party of Prime Minister José Sócrates.[1]

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Official results of the referendum showed that 59.24% of the Portuguese approved the proposal put on ballot, while 40.76% rejected it. However, only 43.61% of the registered voters turned out to vote. Since abstention was over 50%, according to the Portuguese Constitution, these results are not legally binding, and parliament can legally decide to disregard them. Prime Minister Sócrates nevertheless confirmed that he would expand the circumstances under which abortion was allowed, since a majority of voters had been in favour.[1]

The law was ratified by President Aníbal Cavaco Silva on 10 April 2007.[2]

Question[edit]

The question in the referendum was:

"Are you in agreement with the decriminalization of the voluntary interruption of pregnancy, if carried out, by the woman's choice, in the first ten weeks in a legally authorized health institution?"[3]

"Concorda com a despenalização da interrupção voluntária da gravidez, se realizada, por opção da mulher, nas 10 primeiras semanas, em estabelecimento de saúde legalmente autorizado?"[4]

Under the current law, abortions are allowed up 12 weeks if the mother's life or mental or physical health is at risk, up to 16 weeks in cases of rape and up to 24 weeks if the child may be born with an incurable disease or deformity. The new law, approved on 9 March 2007, allows abortions on request up to the tenth week.[5]

Political positions[edit]

The major parties in Portugal listed with their political positioning and their official answer to the referendum question:

Opinion polling[edit]

A December 2006 Aximage/Correio da Manhã poll had found that 61% of Portugal's electorate supported the proposal, 26% did not, and 12% were "not sure".[6] An earlier survey from October 2006 had yielded similar results.[7] However, a poll from mid-January 2007 had seen support drop to 38 to 28 in favour.[8]

Last day Polling Polling Firm Sample size Direct Intention of Vote Valid Vote
☑YYes ☒NNo Undecided Lead ☑YYes ☒NNo Lead
7 Feb Aximage 801 52.6 41.5 5.9 11.1 56.0 44.0 12.0
5 Feb Eurosondagem 2,059 46.5 41.0 12.5 6.2 53.1 46.9 5.5
5 Feb TNS Eurotest 1,000 52.8 37.1 10.1 15.7 59.0 41.0 18.0
4 Feb Universidade Católica 3,806 49.0 34.0 17.0 15.0 58.0 42.0 16.0
2 Feb Aximage 601 51.3 43.7 5.0 7.6 54.0 46.0 8.0
24 Jan IPOM 697 45.6 37.2 17.2 8.4 55.0 45.0 10.0
22 Jan Universidade Católica 1,257 48.0 35.0 17.0 13.0 59.0 41.0 18.0
19 Jan Marktest 821 54.0 33.4 12.6 20.6 61.8 38.2 23.6
18 Jan Aximage 500 55.6 29.8 14.6 25.8 65.0 35.0 30.0
16 Jan Eurosondagem 2,569 43.0 36.0 22.0 7.0 52.5 47.5 5.0
9 Jan Aximage 550 57.0 34.8 8.1 22.2 62.0 38.0 24.0
9 Jan INTERCAMPUS 1,525 60.0 29.0 11.0 31.0 67.0 33.0 34.0
2007
20 Dec Aximage 502 61.0 26.7 12.3 34.3 70.0 30.0 40.0
7 Dec Aximage 550 64.1 27.3 8.6 36.8 70.0 30.0 40.0
15 Nov Marktest 808 61.2 30.0 8.8 31.2 67.1 32.9 34.2
24 Oct INTERCAMPUS 514 66.9 27.6 5.4 39.3 71.0 29.0 42.0
21 Oct Marktest 809 63.0 27.0 10.0 36.0 70.0 30.0 40.0
17 Oct Eurosondagem 1,033 46.0 39.0 16.0 7.0 51.7 48.3 3.4
15 Oct Universidade Católica 1,282 63.0 25.0 12.0 38.0 72.0 28.0 44.0
4 Oct Aximage 550 47.9 39.9 12.2 8.0 55.0 45.0 10.0
2006

Results[edit]

Results of the referendum by district (Islands shown).
No: 1,534,669 (40.75%) Yes: 2,231,539 (59.25%)
Portuguese abortion referendum, 2007
Choice Votes %
Referendum passed Yes 2,231,529 59.25
No 1,534,669 40.75
Valid votes 3,766,198 98.07
Invalid or blank votes 73,978 1.93
Total votes 3,840,176 100.00
Registered voters and turnout 8,814,016 43.57
Source: Comissão Nacional de Eleições

Results by district[edit]

Results of the referendum in the Portuguese municipalities (Islands not shown).
District Turnout Yes vote No vote Yes % No %
Azores 29.54 17,022 38,489 30.66 69.34
Aveiro 42.29 110,644 137,312 44.62 55.38
Beja 39.82 45,028 8,641 83.90 16.10
Braga 46.20 132,507 187,911 41.35 58.65
Bragança 34.07 20,445 29,722 40.75 59.25
Castelo Branco 40.15 45,976 28,601 61.65 38.35
Coimbra 40.04 92,828 54,769 62.89 37.11
EvoraÉvora 43.00 48,274 13,312 78.38 21.62
Faro 38.78 89,132 31,440 73.92 26.08
Guarda 38.27 27,725 31,865 46.53 53.47
Leiria 43.76 97,292 69,585 58.30 41.70
Lisbon 48.67 607,419 242,467 71.47 28.53
Madeira 38.89 30,209 57,091 34.60 65.40
Portalegre 38.92 30,507 10,478 74.45 25.55
Porto 44.86 350,868 294,599 54.36 45.64
Santarém 44.16 109,051 58,434 65.11 34.89
Setúbal 48.77 259,684 57,032 81.99 18.01
Viana do Castelo 39.54 37,096 54,023 40.71 59.29
Vila Real 34.28 28,871 46,921 38.09 61.91
Viseu 37.71 50,931 81,977 38.32 61.68
Source: Comissão Nacional de Eleições

History[edit]

In 1998 the same question had been put in another referendum. In this case a small majority voted no and the law was not implemented.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Portugal will legalise abortion." (12 February 2007). BBC News. Retrieved 12 February 2007.
  2. ^ "Portugal law liberalizes abortion." (10 April 2007). CNN.com. Retrieved 18 April 2007.
  3. ^ "Portugal Plans Abortion Referendum[permanent dead link]." (11 December 2006). TotalCatholic.com. Retrieved 4 January 2006.
  4. ^ Ballot specimen[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Portuguese MPs vote for abortion." (9 March 2007). BBC News. Retrieved 18 April 2007.
  6. ^ "Portuguese Would Decriminalize Abortion Archived 10 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine.." (9 January 2007). Angus Reid Global Monitor. Retrieved 10 January 2006.
  7. ^ "Portuguese Would Vote to Legalize Abortion[permanent dead link]." ( 2 November 2006). Angus Reid Global Monitor. Retrieved 11 January 2006.
  8. ^ "Support Plummets for Portugal's Abortion Change[permanent dead link]." (29 January 2007). Angus Reid Global Monitor. Retrieved 12 February 2007.

External links[edit]