.- The President of Human Life International (HLI) has responded to Tuesday's press reports that Portugal's President Anibal Cavaco Silva has signed into law a new measure legalizing abortion for any reason, up to the tenth week of pregnancy.
"Prime Minister Jose Socrates and President Anibal Cavaco Silva will be remembered in history as the men who gave legal sanction to the mass murder of Portuguese children" said The Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer after Cavaco Silva ratified a measure liberalizing Portugal's formerly strong abortion laws.
The legislation occurred despite the fact that the Portuguese people refused to approve a popular ballot doing the same thing earlier this year. Portugal is one of Europe's most Catholic countries.
The law had been promoted by Prime Minister Jose Socrates and passed by Parliament in February to bring Portugal more "up to date" with its European neighbors. Socrates called the old laws "backward" and a "national disgrace.”
Father Euteneuer responded by saying, "Any move liberalizing abortion is not human progress. That move, not the protection of life, is the genuine step backwards. HLI condemns this action in the strongest possible terms. History will remember Socrates as the one who gave Portuguese babies the cup of hemlock and Cavaco Silva as the one who signed their death warrants."
Desptite pressure from the Catholic bishops of Portugal and much of the population, Cavaco Silva refused to veto the law but opted instead to include some recommendations for its application, such as informing women about adoption as an alternative, restricting abortion advertising, allowing doctors who object to abortion to still be included in prior consultations and the creation a public network of psychological and social services for women who are considering an abortion.