Over two thousand demonstrators, mostly women, gathered outside the Portuguese parliament to support a Bill, sponsored by the Communist Party, to legalise abortion.
SV Newspaper headlines
SV & GV Demonstrators outside Parliament building (2 shots)
SV & GV INTERIOR Parliament in session (3 shots)
GV & SV Communist Deputy Zita Seabra speaking, members of parliament listening (PORTUGUESE SOT) (3 shots)
SV & GV Casting of votes, declaration of result (3 shots)
SV Protestors shouting and being removed from Chamber
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Background: Over two thousand demonstrators, mostly women, gathered outside the Portuguese parliament to support a Bill, sponsored by the Communist Party, to legalise abortion. The following day, November 12, the proposals were defeated by 127 votes to 105. The issue, which became an important test for the ruling Democratic Alliance, was the focus of an emotionally charged propaganda campaign both for and against. Line up in opposition to the Communist's proposals were the Catholic Church and the Portuguese medical profession. It is estimated by women's group within the country that at least 200,000 illegal abortions are performed each year. Introducing the bill, Communist Deputy Zita Seabra claimed that these clandestine operations claim 2,000 lives annually. Under existing Portuguese law, abortion carries a two to eight year prison sentence for both the woman and the doctor. The vote confirmed that Portugal, Spain and the Republic of Ireland, all staunchly Roman Catholic countries, area alone int heir total opposition to abortion among the nations of Europe.