According to a report on LifeSiteNews.com, members of the Portuguese Medical Association are circulating a petition on the Internet to urge the Association leadership to maintain its anti-abortion ethical code, asking it to "maintain with the greatest rigor and commitment the intransigent struggle for the ethical independence and autonomy of the medical profession."
The Code of Ethics of the Association states that "doctors must maintain respect for human life from its beginning", and "the practice of abortion constitutes a grave ethical failure".
Denouncing the "misuse of medical knowledge that various powers and pressure groups" are attempting to impose on the Association, the petition compares the government's demands with earlier movements for "forced internments in psychiatric institutions, sterilizations, and elimination of human beings for eugenic or racist reasons".
The doctors remind the Association that the 2,500-year-old Hippocratic Oath exists to resist the moral fashions of the times, which have often been a threat to the dignity of human life. They wish to avoid "the subjection of this Code to a changing 'ethic', molded to the taste of the interests, conveniences, ideologies or convictions of those who happen to have power or influence at the time."
Over 700 Portuguese doctors have so far signed the petition, which is addressed to the Bastonario (official spokesman) of the Medical Association, Pedro Nunes. Nunes has repeatedly denounced the government's threats and has refused to capitulate.