Press commentary newsroundup

 

New in Portugal, where questions regarding women rights have been treated as minor themes, most of the political stories about Portuguese political life in all ideological sectors make reference to the abortion question in Portugal. Next, some phrases of these commentators in important politic newspapers from the Portuguese center and right liberal wing.

Definitely, Women on Waves/Portuguese Waves iniciative has shaken the Government Coalition.

(Santana Lopes opens up and closes down, showing how fragile the coalision is)

Santana Lopes‚ initial position on November 2nd, after the reunion with the President of the Republic, seemed to open up the way towards a more open, less dogmatic posture from Santana Lopes. Political commentators connected to the liberal factions congratulated this posture.
However, Santana Lopes‚ turning point less than 24 hours later, at the end of the National Council of PSD, puts the more liberal sectors in a bad situation among the social democrats.
Also the fact that this week Santana Lopes has been accepting as valid a revision of the abortion law, even without the necessity of a referendum, can indicate preparations for an entry as of now into the electoral program.

-SEMANÁRIO, 3rd of Sept, 2004, p. 11

Santana Lopes: has no fear of taking a sharp stand and doesn't feel limited by taboos or questions of form and legality. The politicians don't have to be slave of a law they made, is what Santana seems to be saying. If the times are new, if the opinions are new, if the application of the actual abortion law has a negative impact, all that means that it's time to change it. Without fear or prejudices.

-SEMANÁRIO, 3rd of Sept, 2004, p. 6, article by Paulo Gavião

Portas has lost in the confrontation with the abortion boat
Santana Lopes has rapidly noticed that Portas and PP have lost every battle, and that all they had left was to defend tolerance and an opening in the social habits and traditions, to safeguard any possible thing related to the State authority. (∑) Here, Santana Lopes has felt that he had and even could break away. And, for a day, the TV news gave us the image of a Prime Minister that unauthorized the coalition and government compromises, announcing a new time, liberty and legal evolution.

-SEMANÁRIO, 3rd of Sept, 2004, p. 7, Editorial de Rui Teixeira Santos

The first polemic between the President of the Republic and the new Prime Minister exploded in a not so dignifying manner. That won't turn sour their relations, but it is a small preoccupying symptom. If it's not contained and controlled by the head of the State it could deflagrate something a lot more alarming.
The Government decided to stop the Dutch boat from entering national waters and coming to our harbors, a boat that aimed to support and explain the aspects of voluntary interruption of pregnancy * to the public opinion. The people responsible for the Dutch ship declared to have on board enough means to provide abortion and appropriated medication of abortive characteristics.
We don't know exactly the reasons why the boat decided to break the Portuguese peace, and bring back to discussion a theme that wasn't finished yet, a theme that in the legal picture wouldn't ask many social and political changes. What's clear is that the declared intentions have agitated all of our political life.

-SEMANÁRIO, 3rd of Sept, 2004, p. 10, article by Pedro Cid

Prime Minister moves backwards in the abortion question
PSD's leader has said yesterday what he hadn't the day before: the law should be kept until 2006.
It took the Prime Minister and leader of PSD less than 24 hours to clarify, his position related to the changing of the abortion law. On Wednesday, after a meeting with the President of the Republic, he has explained why the government stopped the abortion boat‚ from entering the national waters, admitted that laws aren't rigid‚ and that a debate should happen in the beginning of the parliamentary year, in September. Clearly opening the doors to a new appreciation of the law. Yesterday he corrected, the shot. At the end of the national congress of PSD that scheduled the congress to November, in Barcelos, the social democrat President said what he hadn't the day before, in the Palace of Belem: