Abortion legislation

Legislation timeline

  • 1984: Abortion is allowed under very restrictive circumstances (Law n°6/1984) (11 May)
  • 1995: Law n° 48/1995 (15 March)
  • 1997: Law n° 90/1997 (30 July)
  • 2007: Abortion is allowed on request (Law n° 16/2007) (7 April)

Source: https://www.saudereprodutiva.dgs.pt/legislacao/interrupcao-voluntaria-da-gravidez.aspx

Abortion conditions

Ground Gestational limit
To save a woman’s life No limit
Because of foetal impairment 24 weeks from LMP
To preserve a woman’s mental health 16 weeks from LMP
To preserve a woman’s physical health 12 weeks from LMP
For economic and social reasons
On request 10 weeks from LMP

Source: https://www.saudereprodutiva.dgs.pt/legislacao/interrupcao-voluntaria-da-gravidez.aspx

Legal conditions

  • Written consent by the woman
  • Pre-abortion consultation (legal counselling)
  • Pre-abortion laboratory tests
  • Post-abortion consultation
  • Waiting period (at least 3 days) between pre-abortion consultation and abortion procedure
  • Contraception evoked during at least 1 of the medical consultations

Specific conditions for minors

  • Parent’s (or guardian’s) consent required for minors under 16

Source:

  • http://www.saudereprodutiva.dgs.pt/normas-e-orientacoes/interrupcao-voluntaria-da-gravidez/organizacao-dos-servicos-para-implementacao-da-lei-n-162007-de-17-de-abril-.aspx
  • http://www.saudereprodutiva.dgs.pt/legislacao/interrupcao-voluntaria-da-gravidez/lei-n162007-publicado-a-17-de-abril.aspx

Practical conditions

Medical abortion conditions

Place Prescription 1st drug taken 2nd drug taken
OB/GYN department of a hospital/clinic Yes Yes No (taken at home)
Another physician office No No No
Midwife office No No No
Abortion centre/clinic
At home No No Yes

Source: http://www.saudereprodutiva.dgs.pt/normas-e-orientacoes/interrupcao-voluntaria-da-gravidez.aspx; http://www.saudereprodutiva.dgs.pt/normas-e-orientacoes/interrupcao-voluntaria-da-gravidez/utilizacao-do-mifepristone-e-do-misoprostol-em-meio-hospitalar-.aspx

Medical abortion can be carried out up to 10 weeks plus 6 days' gestation

Mandatory pre-abortion examinations

  • Blood group and rhesus factor : some services are using the last WHO recommendations and do not determine it. There is no national recommendations on it.
  • Ultrasound

Involved healthcare professionals

  • Surgical abortion: obstetrician/gynaecologist (OB/GYN)
  • Medical abortion: OB/GYN, another physician or a nurse under physician supervision

Other information

  • Public hospitals with OB/GYN services have the obligation to perform abortion, but not all of them perform abortion due to physician conscientious objection. Those who do not perform abortion refer the woman to private services (authorised for abortion), under economic support of the National Health System.
  • Doctors are not allowed to perform abortion in their private practice.
  • Women face problems on access to abortion in some areas of the country: information not clear on access to abortion appointment, difficulties among emigrants.

Source:

  • Direção-Geral da Saúde – http://www.saudereprodutiva.dgs.pt/normas-e-orientacoes/interrupcao-voluntaria-da-gravidez/organizacao-dos-servicos-para-implementacao-da-lei-n-162007-de-17-de-abril-.aspx ; http://www.saudereprodutiva.dgs.pt/legislacao/interrupcao-voluntaria-da-gravidez.aspx

Abortion statistics

Abortion rates per 1,000 women aged 15-49

Source: www.dgs.pt

Overall number of induced abortions

Source: www.dgs.pt

Preliminary data for 2021

Abortion ratio per 1.000 live births: 170 (2020)

Source: www.dgs.pt

Abortions performed “on request”: 95.7% (2021)

Source: www.dgs.pt

Preliminary data for 2021

Overall number of induced abortions vs. medical abortions

Source: www.dgs.pt

In public services, medical abortions accounted for 98% over the last years.

Induced abortions per gestational age ()

Unfortunately we have no data for this country.

Source:

Average gestational age was 7 weeks in 2021.

Place of abortion (2021)

Source: www.dgs.pt

Preliminary data for 2021

Characteristics of women having induced abortion

Distribution of induced abortion according to women age (2020)

Source: https://www.spdc.pt/documentacao/publicacoes

In 2021, among women who had induced abortion:

  • 73.6% were Portuguese

Source:

  • Direção-Geral Da Saúde; Divisão de saúde sexual, reprodutiva, infantil e juvenil: Relatório dos registos das interrupções da gravidez ao abrigo de lei 16/2007

Fertility and contraception

Fertility rates in women aged 15-49

Source: https://www.pordata.pt/en/Portugal/Fertility+indicators+total+fertility+rate+and+gross+reproduction+rate-416

Women age at first birth

  • 30,9 years of age (2021)

Overall contraception data

  • 94% of sexual active women aged 15-49 used a contraceptive method (2015):
  • 58% used oral contraceptives
  • 14% used male condoms
  • 12% used intra-uterine devices (IUD)
  • 5% used implants.

Contraception during abortion process

  • 95% % of women who had abortion on request had a contraceptive method prescribed during abortion process (2021).
    39,3 % of women who had abortion on request had long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) prescribed during abortion process (2018).

LARC is usually placed in abortion facilities:

  • IUD is placed 2 to 4 weeks after medical abortion, and at the time of surgical abortion
  • Implant is placed at the time of mifepristone intake or 2-4 weeks after medical abortion, and at the time of surgical abortion.

Source:

  • https://www.pordata.pt/en/Portugal/Mean+age+of+the+mother+at+birth+of+first+child-805
  • Águas et al., [Evaluation on portuguese women contraceptive practice]. Acta Obstet Ginecol Port 2016;10(3):184-192 [in Portuguese] (http://www.fspog.com/fotos/editor2/2016_3T/04-ao_16-00046.pdf)
  • Direção-Geral Da Saúde; Divisão de saúde sexual, reprodutiva, infantil e juvenil: Relatório dos registos das interrupções da gravidez ao abrigo de lei 16/2007
  • Direção-Geral Da Saúde; Divisão de saúde sexual, reprodutiva, infantil e juvenil: Relatório dos registos das interrupções da gravidez ao abrigo de lei 16/2007 ; Organização dos serviços para implementação da Lei n.º 16/2007 de 17 de Abril
  • https://www.spdc.pt/documentacao/publicacoes

Country-specific characteristics

  • Women have to give written consent. A medical certificate for abortion signed by a physician other than the one performing the abortion is required.
  • Abortion is taught during health care professionals’ (HCPs’) medical studies.
  • Surgical and medical abortions are free of charge for resident women, for non-resident women coming from European countries, and for women from other countries having political and diplomatic relations with Portugal.
  • All HCPs have the right to conscientiously object; the women are to be referred to another service. The public hospital where abortion is not performed due to physicians’ conscientious objection must refer the women to a private service (National Health System will support it) or to another public hospital.

Source:

  • Direção-Geral Da Saúde (http://www.saudereprodutiva.dgs.pt/legislacao/interrupcao-voluntaria-da-gravidez.aspx)

Download statistics of Portugal

The statistics presented are freely accessible and may be used, copied, displayed or distributed provided that their source is given. You can choose whether you prefer to download the statistics of the last 10 years or the full data set. Press one of the buttons to generate a report in PDF format for this country.

Abbreviations: EFTA = European Free Trade Association | EU = European Union | IUD = intra-uterine device | LARC = long-acting reversible contraception | LMP = last menstruation period | GYN = gynaecologist | HCP = health care professional | hCG = human chorionic gonadotropin | HIV = human immunodeficiency virus | OB = obstetrician | Rh = Rhesus | US = ultrasound

A special thanks to our correspondents for contributing in data collection.
Please contact info@exelgyn.com if you have additional data or would like to comment information

Page last updated: 4 July 2023