Portugal to stamp out anti-gay prejudice in blood donations

Health

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal’s parliament approved four bills Friday that enshrine in law the country’s rules and procedures on blood donations, amid reports people are being turned away due to their sexual orientation.

The Portuguese Constitution forbids discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation, and discrimination in blood donations has been specifically prohibited in Portugal since 2010.

But some health workers allegedly have refused to accept homosexual and bisexual donors, claiming their sexual behavior places them at a heightened risk for transmissible diseases.

The governing center-left Socialist Party said it had received reports of discrimination, specifically from gay men who went to donate blood at health departments but were told they couldn’t — even though the rules say they can.

Its bill, which will now come into force, says health services “cannot discriminate between donors based on their gender identity or sexual orientation.”

Three other bills stated the same, but with additional details such as donor campaigns and rewards for donors.

The penalties for any discrimination would come under Portuguese penal law, and can vary depending on what charges are brought, though the most likely punishment would be a fine or a suspension.

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