Spain has become the flag bearer in the EU for passing laws approving menstrual leave, teen abortion, and transgender laws.
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Spain had decriminalized abortion in 1985, and it passed a law in 2010 allowing women to opt for abortion freely during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy in most cases. And on Thursday, by approving the laws catering to women’s needs, Spain has become the champion of feminism in the EU for working towards women’s rights and their empowerment. The frontrunner in the Spanish Government who focused on the issues that are generally put in hindsight is the Minister of Equality, Irene Montero who is a junior member of the “United We Can” Party, a left-wing coalition government.
Paid Menstrual Leave
The Spanish lawmakers on Thursday gave the final nod on the law granting paid leave to women who are suffering from severe period pain allowing workers going through menstrual pain to take as much time off as they deem with the doctor’s approval for temporary medical incapacity. The State Social Security System and not the employers will keep tabs on sick leave. The law has not specified any length for the leave.
The legislation got passed on Thursday with 185 votes in favour against 154 votes. It has definitely created divisions among the opposition and unions who predict that this law will nudge the labour market to employ more men as it will stigmatise women in the workplace.
Countries like Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan and Zambia do provide legal menstrual leaves and Spain is the first country in the EU to do so. Many companies have also started providing menstrual leaves to the women employees like Zomato and Louis.
This new law allows minors to have abortions without parental permission at 16 and 17 years of age, reversing a requirement introduced by a previous conservative government in 2015. Menstrual Leave is one key vector in the broader legislation that will provide increased access to abortion in public hospitals. Period products will now be available free in schools and prisons, while state-run health centres will offer free hormonal contraceptives and the morning-after pill.
Less than 15% of abortions were being performed in public hospitals as the doctors would object due to their religious beliefs.
Legal Gender Change
The law allowing people over the age of 16 to legally change their legally recognized gender without medical evaluation has been approved with 191 votes. People no longer need a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria and to be on hormonal treatment for two years to change their gender on their ID card, which was a necessity. They can now identify as another gender and confirm it after three months. The law also banned conversion therapies intended to change a person’s sexual orientation. Children aged 12–13 years will require a judge’s approval, while teens aged 14–15 years will need parental permission to change their gender in the civil registry.
Denmark, Argentina, and Spain have already this law in practice.
Spain being a traditionally Catholic country, bringing in these revolutionary laws is a historical achievement in itself. These laws may have cons, but it is necessary to acknowledge the need to take the first step due to changing times. These laws not only will help the citizens but also will facilitate transforming their lives.
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