Five convicted in abortion case in Portugal

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Wednesday, July 5, 2006

A doctor, his assistant and three women who were found to have undergone abortion were convicted of violating abortion laws in Portugal.

The three women were found to have undergone abortion in violation of Portuguese law. Abortion is illegal in Portugal except where a pregnancy is caused by rape or when the health of the mother is in danger due to the pregnancy. Further, abortion cannot be performed after the first trimester (the end of 12th week).

Twelve other defendants, mostly women and their partners, were found not guilty. The doctor was sentenced to 3 years and 8 months in prison. His assistant was deemed an accomplice and sentenced to 1 year and 4 months in prison. The three women were given 6 month suspended sentences.

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All the defendants had earlier been acquitted of the charges in 2004 for lack of evidences. That decision was declared void by a superior court on appeal. The court decided that the medical examinations conducted on the women, which were performed without a court order or the presence of a state witness, were legal.

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