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Portugal president signs abortion liberalization law

[JURIST] Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva [official website, in Portuguese] Tuesday approved a law permitting abortions during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. The Portuguese parliament [official website, in Portuguese] passed the law last month after a February referendum on the issue failed due to low voter turnout [JURIST reports]. Approximately 60 percent of those who voted in the referendum supported a reform of the former law, which only permitted abortion in cases of rape, fetal malformation, or risk to the mother’s health.

The law was passed despite staunch opposition from the Catholic Church [AP report], to which 90% of Portuguese belong. The new law imposes a three-day waiting period on women seeking abortions and requires that they receive information about adoption as an alternative. Portugal's reform leaves Ireland, Poland, and Malta as the only remaining EU member states that outlaw abortion. BBC News has more.

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