LISBON – The Associated Press reported in late February that a bill relaxing abortion restrictions in Portugal was recently defeated in this predominantly Catholic country.

Under existing law, abortion is legal if the mother’s life or long-term health is at risk, or until the 16th week if the unborn has it serious illness or deformation. Pro-abortion groups, including the Family Planning Association and the Community Party of Portugal, wanted the extend the number of weeks at which abortion is legal.

Meanwhile, church and medical groups opposed any relaxation of the law. “All and any attacks on human life must be repelled,” said Januario Torgal Ferreira of the Portuguese bishops’ conference.