Portugal’s abortion rate falls again

upsetwoman2013 saw 17,414 abortions performed on Portugal’s women, a 6.2% decrease in a year. This also is the lowest number since the decriminalisation of abortion in Portugal in 2007.

Two-thirds of these voluntary terminations were performed with drugs and were performed within the legal 10 week period, according to the latest report by the Directorate General of Health which has been monitoring the trends.

Lisa Vincent, head of the Sexual Health Division within the Health Department, said there is a downward trend with 1,201 fewer abortions in 2013 than in 2012 but the statistics need to be looked at carefully as "The absolute numbers may be waning, but we need to see the relationship with the number of live births. If the birth rate decreased by 10% last year, then the number of abortions has risen as a percentage.”

“There are fewer women of childbearing age,” said Isilda Pegado from the Portuguese Federation for Life to whom the data shows only that "there were more than 17,400 children who were not born."

Government data shows that in 2012 compared to the year before, there were 33,000 fewer women of childbearing age in the country, a reduction of 1.3%.

The fact is that since 2008 elective abortion has fallen 3.3% and the profile of women who have abortions have not differed substantially from year to year.

In 2013, almost half cohabited, 40 % had no children and 52% already had one or more child.

Women between 20 and 24 years are the ones that have the most abortions, followed by women aged between 25 and 29 years, then those between 30 and 34 years.

As for the economic crisis almost a quarter of women who chose to discontinue their pregnancy last year were unemployed. This represents an increase over both 2012 and 2011 when this group already was growing, now they are predominant. Next on the list were unskilled workers and students. The proportion of foreigners remained stable around 16% of the total.

The last set of data that can be compared with other European countries showed Portugal carrying out fewer abortions than the UK, Norway and Sweden, and more than in Finland, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany.

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