Spain expands a number of laws in the field of gender self-determination and abortion. The country is also introducing paid menstrual leave, the first in Europe. The parliament in Madrid today approved a number of bills to that effect.
It concerns two packages that include various legislative amendments. For example, anyone who suffers severe pain during their period can report sick for this. Not the employer but the social care system bears the costs for this. As with paid medical leave, this must be approved by a doctor. It is also stipulated that schools and prisons must offer menstrual products free of charge.
The changes also mean that young people from the age of 16 can have an abortion without the consent of their parent or guardian.
It is also enshrined in the law that an abortion must be able to take place in a public hospital, so that patients do not have to resort to private clinics. Now 80 percent of abortions in Spain are still done in such a clinic because doctors in hospitals often refuse to perform them for religious reasons.
A number of adjustments are also being made in the field of gender self-determination. In Spain, anyone over the age of 16 can change the gender registered in their passport without the permission of a doctor.
Young people between the ages of 14 and 16 are now also allowed to do this, but they do need parental consent. Previously, this required a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. If a child is 12 or 13 years old, a judge must pass judgment on this.
The plans come from the Minister for Equality, the progressive politician Irene Montero, who has held the post since 2020. Since that year, the country has had a coalition government of social democrats and the radical left.
The right-wing opposition strongly criticized the plans. For example, with regard to menstrual leave, conservative parties said that this would place women at a disadvantage in the labor market.
On Twitter Montero welcomed the changes. She spoke of a “historic day for feminist progress”.
A number of the points are currently also playing in the Netherlands. Here, the judgment of an expert is currently still a condition for changing the registered sex in the birth certificate, and therefore in the passport. A law is currently before the House of Representatives that will abolish the so-called expert statement.
Spain is a forerunner in the field of paid menstrual leave: in the Netherlands this topic hardly plays a role. Japan and Indonesia have also introduced similar laws.
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