[JURIST] Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates [official profile] of the ruling Socialist party [party website, in Portuguese] said Saturday that the Portuguese Parliament [official website, in Portuguese] could pass legislation to loosen its strict abortion law [text, in Portuguese] by the end of March. Low voter turnout undermined [JURIST report] last week's referendum on easing the abortion law, but the government has nonetheless vowed to seek approval [JURIST report] of the changes in parliament. Approximately 59 percent of voters were in favor of loosening restrictions against abortion, while 41 percent voted to keep abortion illegal. Only 40 percent of the population turned out, less than the 50 percent threshold requirement to support a change in the law.
The country's new abortion law would allow abortions in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, while the current law only allows abortions in order to save the woman's life, in rape cases, or if the baby will be born with a deformity or incurable disease. AP has more.