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Roundup: Virginia Pro-Choice Groups Ask for Equal Regulation of Outpatient Clinics

Same-sex marriages won’t be allowed in California during Prop 8 appeal, international transgender news, trade schools cannot discriminate against applicants with HIV or AIDS, and Virginia pro-choice groups ask for new regulations to be applied to all outpatient surgery centers, not just abortion clinics.

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European Court Rules On Freedom of Expression in Portugal

The European Court of Human Rights recently ruled that Portugal had violated freedom of expression by prohibiting the ship Borndiep, which promoted the decriminalization of abortion, from entering Portuguese territorial waters.

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Portugal Update: Doctors’ Consciences Act Up

Mixed news from Portugal: abortion was officially legalized up to 10 weeks without restriction on July 15, but some doctors are refusing to perform the procedures due to a conscience clause.

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Portuguese Voters Send a Clear Message

I was thrilled to hear that Portuguese citizens voted this weekend to legalize abortion up to 10 weeks, in a public referendum that was initiated and strongly supported by Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates. Portugal is one of the few European countries (along with Poland, Malta, and Ireland) where abortion is still heavily restricted, and as a result, it currently has one of the highest rates of unsafe abortion on the continent–at least 20,000 illegal procedures are performed every year. Portugal is also known for its litigious approach to the abortion issue–five years ago, the government prosecuted a whopping 49 individuals accused of somehow participating in 17 women's illegal abortions, including a handful of taxi drivers. One Portuguese midwife is still serving an 8-year prison sentence as a result.

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Another Victory for Democracy: Date Set for Portugal’s Abortion Referendum

It's official: on February 11, 2007, Portuguese citizens will vote on whether or not to make abortion legal without restriction within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. Portugal is one of the few countries in Europe where abortion is illegal under most circumstances; currently, the procedure is legally available only in cases where a pregnant woman's life is at risk, or during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy in cases of rape or fetal malformation. Despite the restrictive laws, tens of thousands of Portuguese women seek illegal, unsafe abortions every year, and pro-choice organizations estimate that some 10,000 of them wind up in the hospital with complications. Worse, women who seek unsafe abortions face harsh prison sentences, and are subjected to the additional trauma of having their sentence read out loud during public and often televised trials. Inter Press Service has an excellent analysis of the current situation here.

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