For older women, sex isn't as important, Portuguese court says, igniting outrage
One of Portugal’s highest courts has reduced compensation for a woman who suffered incontinence and painful sex after botched surgery, saying that sex for an older woman “does not have the importance that it had at younger ages.”
The woman, referred to as Maria, was injured at the age of 50 when doctors mistakenly cut a nerve during a 1995 surgery to remove glands that secrete lubrication fluid, the New York Times reports. She successfully sued the state-run maternity clinic that performed the surgery, but Portugal’s Supreme Administrative Court reduced her compensation to about $139,000 in an Oct. 9 opinion. The decision, the Times says, “was the kind of insult added to injury that ignited an outrage that was not hers alone.”
The court noted that Maria, a housekeeper, already had two children when she was injured in the surgery. Rosa Monteiro, vice president of the Portuguese Women’s Studies Association, told the Times the decision “openly evokes the obligation of this woman to take care of children and husband, a set of gender roles expunged from our law.”
João Gama, a law professor at Catholic University in Lisbon, said the decision showed “a sexist and socioeconomic prejudice.”
Maria’s lawyer plans an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.