The Spanish parliament on Thursday, 16 February, approved laws that will entitle workers to paid menstrual leave, will allow persons above 16 to freely change their gender, and will expand abortion rights for teenagers.
With the passing of the bill, Spain has become the first European country to introduce paid menstrual leave. The European country is also among the first countries worldwide to allow people to change their gender on their national identity cards with a simple declaration.
Prior to the law’s passing, adults in Spain were required to provide a medical report attesting to gender dysphoria and proof of hormone treatment for two years in order to change their legally registered gender.
The newly-passed law scraps many of the hurdles for those aged 16 and older. It also allows minors aged 14 and 15 to apply for a gender change with their parents’ or legal guardians’ approval.
Minors aged 12 and 13, however, will need a judge’s permission.
The bill also bans so-called “conversion therapy” that seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual and outlines government measures for the inclusion of trans people in the workforce, education and housing.
LGBTQ activists celebrated the vote outside parliament in the capital Madrid on Thursday.
The legislation was championed by Equality Minister, Irene Montero, of the left-wing junior coalition partner Podemos (“United We Can”).
“This law recognises the right of trans people to self-determine their gender identity, it depathologises trans people. Trans people are not sick people, they are just people,” Montero said ahead of the vote. She described the law as among “the most important laws of this legislature.”
Montero later celebrated the bill being voted into law on Twitter.
The passage was also praised by Spain’s largest LGBTQ organisation, saying it would set an example for other countries.
Abortion Rights for Teenagers:
The Spanish parliament also approved on Thursday another law allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to undergo an abortion without parental consent.
The new law also enshrines the right to have an abortion in a state hospital. Over 80% of abortions carried out in Spain are currently done in private clinics, with many doctors in the public health system refusing to perform them, citing religious reasons.
Thursday’s vote follows an attempt by the right-wing Popular Party to knock down a 2010 legislation which allows abortion within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. The country’s Constitutional Court rejected the challenge last week.
Other changes brought about by Thursday’s vote include offering free menstrual products in schools and prisons, and free hormonal contraceptives and the morning after pill at state-run health centres.
Source: The Wire