Abortion in Portugal: New Trends in European Constitutionalism

The first five chapters of Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies explore “Constitutional Values and Regulatory Regimes” by illustrating how European constitutional courts came to reject the traditional assumption that women’s rights conflict with those of the unborn.   Reva Siegel’s chapter “The Constitutionalization of Abortion” provides an overview of this trend, followed by two country-specific chapters.  The first of these is abstracted below.

“Abortion in Portugal: New Trends in European Constitutionalism”, by Ruth Rubio-Marín,  Chapter 2 in Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies, ed. Rebecca J. Cook, Joanna N. Erdman, and Bernard M. Dickens (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014) pp. 36-55, notes 393-397. A Spanish edition was published in August 2016:  Ahora disponible en español.

In this  second chapter of Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective, Prof. Ruth Rubio-Marín explores the constitutionalization of abortion by analyzing the rich history of constitutional jurisprudence in Portugal, culminating in the 2010 decision of the Portuguese Constitutional Court validating a “periodic regime” of access to abortion within the early weeks of pregnancy, combined with the introduction of mandatory non-dissuasive abortion counseling to protect intrauterine life.  The Court recognized this new regime as protective of unborn human life but also respectful of women’s dignity and autonomy as constitutional values worthy of protection. Overall, Rubio-Marín identifies a shifting vision, underlying this evolution, of the pregnant woman, now viewed as a responsible actor who makes her own legitimate decisions informed by available means and support, suggesting an alternative, positive course of action for the state.

Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies was published in August 2014.   Table of Contents and other information online.  A Spanish edition was published in August 2016:  Ahora disponible en español.

 

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