Portuguese politicians abandon the unborn, says SPUC
12 February 2007
Portuguese politicians abandon the unborn, says SPUC London, 12th February 2007 - The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has termed the attitude of Portugal's political class anti-democratic and abhorrent following the result of the referendum on abortion on demand. Portugal's Socialist Party government has announced that it will pass legislation to allow abortion on demand in early pregnancy, even though the low voter turn-out of 40% meant that the referendum result in favour of abortion is not binding. The Social Democratic Party, the main opposition party, has said that it will not oppose the legislation (see note 1 below). Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, commented: "It is a dereliction of duty by politicians to deny the right to life to the unborn and therefore deny them the right to participate in society. In a democratic country, everyone is encouraged to exercise a right to participate in the political process for the common good. Denying protection of the right to life of the weak, vulnerable and voiceless is abhorrent. "Those politicians in Portugal who claim to be Catholic should note the Church's teaching on the participation of Catholics in political life, reaffirmed in 2002 by the then-Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. It is not permissible to use democracy as an excuse to abandon one's responsibility for ensuring legal protection of the unborn." (see note 2 below) SPUC also condemned the tactics of pro-abortion campaigners, who have continued to use unfounded stories of tens of thousands of alleged illegal abortions, and said that journalists who failed to check the facts behind such claims were irresponsible. Notes for editors: (1) CNN, 12th Feb2007: "Luis Marques Mendes, leader of the main opposition Social Democratic Party, said he would not stand in the way of granting broader abortion rights despite his opposition during the referendum campaign. "Even though the (referendum) result is not binding, we believe it should be democratically respected," he said." (2) Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Doctrinal note on some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in political life, 24th Nov. 2002: para. 3: "[D]emocracy...succeeds only to the extent that it is based on a correct understanding of the human person. Catholic involvement in political life cannot compromise on this principle....It is respect for the person that makes democratic participation possible."; para. 4 "When political activity comes up against moral principles that do not admit of exception, compromise or derogation, the Catholic commitment becomes more evident and laden with responsibility."; para. 5: "[N]o Catholic can appeal to the principle of pluralism or to the autonomy of lay involvement in political life to support policies affecting the common good which compromise or undermine fundamental ethical requirements."