Spain Passes Laws Allowing Menstrual Leaves, Teen Abortion and Expands Trans Rights - medtigo



Spain Passes Laws Allowing Menstrual Leaves, Teen Abortion and Expands Trans Rights

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Madrid has passed legislation boosting teen access to abortion and transgender rights and making Spain the first country in Europe to offer paid menstruation leave.  

According to Al Jazeera, equality minister Irene Montero was the driving force behind the two bills. Montero is a member of the “United We Can” Party, the junior party in Spain’s left-wing coalition government. Thursday’s reforms to sexual and reproductive rights allow 16- and 17-year-olds in Spain to undergo abortions without parental permission.  

Menstrual products will henceforth be provided for free in schools and jails, while hormonal contraceptives and the morning-after pill will be provided for free at state-run health clinics. The menstrual leave policy permits employees with incapacitating period pain to take paid time off. Moreover, the amendments codified the right to obtain an abortion at a state hospital.  

Nowadays, more than 80 percent of termination procedures in Spain are performed in private clinics due to the large number of public doctors who refuse to conduct them, with many citing religious reasons. Under the new approach, doctors at state hospitals will not be required to perform abortions if they have already expressed their concerns in writing.  

The abortion law builds on laws established in 2010 that marked a significant shift for a traditionally Catholic country, transforming Spain into one of the most progressive countries in Europe with regard to reproductive rights. The Spanish Constitutional Court dismissed the right-wing Popular Party’s challenge to the legalization of abortions in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy last week.  

A separate package of measures also adopted by parliament on Thursday strengthened transgender rights, including allowing any person over the age of 16 to legally change their gender without medical supervision. Youngsters aged 12 to 13 will require a judge’s permission to change, whereas those aged 14 to 16 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.  

Historically, transgender individuals required a diagnosis of gender dysphoria from multiple physicians. The second law prohibits so-called “conversion therapy” for LGBTQ individuals and offers financial assistance to lesbians and single women seeking IVF treatment.  

The center-left coalition government is also under fire for another of Montero’s crowning achievements, a new sexual consent law that was designed to strengthen protection against rape but inadvertently allowed hundreds of sex offenders to have their jail sentences cut.  

In circumstances of suspected sexual assault, the “Only Yes Means Yes” law makes verbal agreement the deciding factor. The government is currently attempting to come up with a revised version and end the controversy before the upcoming elections.  

The three measures have been received with vehement criticism by the principal opposition bloc in Spain, the right-wing parties. 



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