You learn something new every day…

Huh. It looks like Portugal will legalise abortion soon. I admit I know very little about Portugal, but this entire story surprises me. I hadn’t realized abortion was previously illegal there, nor that it had a Socialist prime minister (nor that his name is Jose Socrates; as bigoted as it sounds, my first impulse on his name was to wonder whether he was Mexican or Greek). Upon further inspection, I’m surprised that my parents can remember a time when Portugal was a dictatorship (which ended in what appears to have been a beautiful, peaceful-ish revolution).

Hurrah for socialism and progressive values!

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  1. eve_wyoming says:


    Maybe next time?

    And I LOVE how recent Portugese and Spanish history is. My parents were here in the late 70s, right after the death of Franco and the 1977 democratic elections, and it’s SO cool to hear them talk about it. So recent. So still present.

    • Alan says:

      The referendum failed, but the Socialists control the majority of the parliament, and have a coalition of several other parties willing to support them. They’re taking this vote as a mandate from the people to pass legislation, and I expect that it will pass into law with no problems.

      Your parents were in Spain when Franco died!? Wow! Have they told you what it was like? When I wrote about my parents remembering, what I meant is that they remember bits of their lives that occured when Portugal was a dictatorship; they don’t remember the dictatorship itself, nor the Carnation Revolution. They vaguely recall Franco’s death. It’s annoying how US-centric the “news” in this country is.

      • Anonymous says:

        too lazy to sign in…but actually they were there right after the 1977 elections, 2 years after Franco’s death. still, it’s very cool to hear them talk about how free and crazy everything was, even if still recovering from the extremism of the Franco era.

  2. hmcmodelt says:

    Alan, Jose is not just a Mexican name. Remember, Portugal speaks a Spanish-like language. From what they taught me about countries in school, geographically speaking Portugal and Mexico are practically neighbors. You know many Mexicans emigrate to the US, why is it so difficult to think they would go the other way into Portugal? It’s just that they are more forward thinking than we are and actually made an immigrant Prime Minister. Your governor is hoping we’ll do the same thing.

    Disclaimer: I actually do know where Portugal is. The point I was trying to make is that the name Jose may not be Mexican. It could be a common Portuguese name.

    • I’d guess it’s a common romance-language name, lifted via religion from the same root as the English name “Joseph”.

      Remember that Portugal and Spain were (and remain) two of the most catholic countries on earth; los Conquistadores probably exported the name to Mexico.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m surprised that this surprised you. Abortion is illegal in many European countries (esp. in the east) where Catholicism is dominant.

    • Alan says:

      It’s my understanding that abortion is legal in most of Europe, with Portugal, Poland, Ireland, and Malta being the only exceptions within the EU (and Spain having heavy restrictions on it). I haven’t looked at all European countries outside the EU, but Norway, Switzerland, Macedonia, Serbia, and Montenegro have also legalized abortion. Bosnia has not.

      Do you know of other European countries where Abortion is illegal? I’d like to learn.

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