Portugal’s Minister of Health, Antonio Correia de Campos, has notified the Portuguese Association of Doctors that it should eliminate from its norms the ethical prohibition of performing abortions because abortion is now legal in the country.
The Portuguese Socialist government, which legalized abortion despite losing a referendum on the issue, announced that the demand for the change in the Associations’ code of ethics would be supervised by the Attorney General and should be carried out in the next thirty days.
The Association’s code of ethics states, “Doctors should maintain respect for human life from its beginnings,” and, “The practice of abortion constitutes a serious ethical failing.”
According to numerous experts, including the College of Lawyers of Portugal, the government does not have the right to demand the code of ethics be changed, because even though the Socialist government has legalized abortion, the country’s Constitution still states that “human life is inviolable.” The College called the government’s demands “arrogant and excessive.”
Dr. Daniel Serrao, who presides over the Commission on Ethics of the Association of Doctors, said, “Any kind of interference is completely unacceptable, no matter who the person or the profession.”