Here's Matthew Cullinan Hoffman's important report for LifeSiteNews. Please note (and use!) the contact information at the conclusion of the article. Let's invest our polite appeals to the Portuguese government, urging them to stop this coercive injustice and to protect freedom of conscience in their country. You can look at my e-mail as a sample.
The Portuguese Health Minister has ordered the Portuguese Medical Association to eliminate its ethical prohibition on performing abortions, sparking protests from physicians and legal experts.
Minister Antonio Correia de Campos, a socialist, [pictured at right] is basing his directive on the fact that Portugal recently decriminalized all abortions during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. With the support of Portugal's attorney general, he has declared that the Medical Association's code conflicts with the new law, and has given them thirty days to eliminate the restriction.
The Association's current ethical code states that "doctors must maintain respect for human life from its beginning", and "the practice of abortion constitutes a grave ethical failure".
The decision appears to follow a recent strategy used by the abortion lobby and pro-abortion politicians in Latin America, which equates decriminalization of abortion with a legal "right" to an abortion. Although criminal penalties have been eliminated from the Portuguese legal code, the Constitution of Portugal still states that "human life shall be inviolable" and "the death penalty shall not exist under any circumstances."
The decision to force the changes drew a sharp denunciation from Daniel Serrao, a doctor who previously headed the Ethical Commission of the Portuguese Medical Association, who stated that "any type of interference is completely unacceptable, from whomever it comes outside of the profession, regarding the way that doctors think they should relate to each other." The Portuguese Bar Association also issued a statement denouncing the decision as "arrogant and overbearing".
Embassy of Portugal in the United States
2125 Kalorama Rd., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008
Embassy of Portugal in Canada
645 Island Park Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, K1Y 0B8
Tel.: (613)729-0883, Fax: (613)729-4236
Dear Ambassador Catarino,
Would you please pass on to your government my urgent appeal that they cease interfering in the medical practices of individual doctors in Portugal? Indeed, the recent actions by Minister Antonio Correia de Campos and the Attorney General ordering the Portuguese Medical Association to eliminate its ethical prohibition on performing abortions constitutes a flagrant injustice against freedom of conscience. This careless order is not only immoral and coercive but something that will certainly draw outrage from freedom-loving peoples all over the world.
So, please remind your government to honor the Association's current ethical code which states that "doctors must maintain respect for human life from its beginning" and "the practice of abortion constitutes a grave ethical failure." To be sure, your government has an even more impressive model to follow; namely, the Constitution of Portugal which boldly, unequivocally presents that "human life shall be inviolable."
Be assured that I (as many, many citizens of the United States will be doing) will pray that the Portuguese government quickly comes to its senses about this matter.
Thank you for your consideration of my request.
Director, Vital Signs Ministries