“It is impossible not to be disappointed with the decision of the US Supreme Court that opens the way for the illegalisation of abortion”, wrote António Costa on Twitter.

“I have always defended that issues of political, religious and ethical conscience cannot be criminalised. These are women's rights, which all states must respect,” he added.

The US Supreme Court on Friday overturned the country's 49-year-old protection of the right to abortion, in a landmark decision that will allow each state to decide whether to uphold or ban that right.