The Primer Minister of Portugal, Pedro Santana Lopes, guaranteed this week that the Dutch abortion boat operated by the feminist group “Women on Waves” will not be allowed to enter Portuguese waters if the group intends to violate the country’s laws that prohibit abortion.
The boat has been anchored about 12 miles off the Portuguese coast by order of the Defense Minister, who said the boat could not approach the shore since the objective of the group is to pick up Portuguese women and take them out to international waters where they can obtain abortions. Several weeks ago, a Dutch court prohibited the group from performing abortions on the open seas.
Santana said the feminist organization could enter Portugal if its purpose was to dialogue but that he could not permit a foreign organization to violate national legislation, which outlaws abortion. In Portugal, he added, freedom of expression is allowed as long as it is within the limits of the law and respectful of common sense and ethics.
If they are seeking to perform abortions, he said, “this would be a problem for Portugal, as has been the case in other countries, and the Minister of Defense has taken the preventative measures that were considered appropriate by the corresponding chain of command.”