The fact that abortion and the diagnosis of sexually transmitted diseases were among the indicators used to evaluate the work of medical teams has sparked a lot of controversy in Portugal. So much so, that the indicators had to be tabled.
On May 10, Portuguese Minister of Health Marta Temido stated that she was committed to evaluating “[…] new criteria on which to establish possible extra salaries for family physicians of ‘type B’ units, i.e., centers of the public health system, recognized as better structured and more efficient.” According to this assessment, financial incentives would be provided for those health care provider teams that did not register patients who resorted to voluntary termination of pregnancy or contracted sexually transmitted diseases. In other words, preventing abortions and STDs would be considered a success, the signal of proper family planning and prevention, for which responsible physicians could be rewarded.
Naturally, Portuguese feminist groups rose in outcry, accusing the legislature of wanting to deny women’s “right” to have an abortion, and family doctors’ associations have also risen up, including the Portuguese Association of General and Family Medicine, which pointed to a criterion based on personal behavior at the discretion of patients as discriminatory, further calling it “unacceptable” and “a step backward in civilization.” The National Federation of Physicians said through a spokesperson that the measure would constitute “wage discrimination, based on individual patient decisions” and could lead “[…] to forms of pressure on women who are considering termination.”
Subsequently, the coordinator of the Primary Health Care Reform Working Group João Rodrigues removed the two indicators of abortion use and sexually transmitted diseases from the draft assessment, and they are to be replaced with others. Abortion, in short, must not be touched.