Spain Approves Teen Abortion, Menstrual Leave, and Trans Laws

    Spain Approves Teen Abortion, Menstrual Leave, and Trans Laws
    Last updated Feb 16, 2023
    Image credit: Reuters [via Al Jazeera]


    • On Thursday, the Spanish legislature amended and passed two laws that bolster transgender and abortion rights and made Spain the first nation in Europe to offer workers paid menstrual leave.[1]
    • The new abortion law allows girls 16 and older to obtain an abortion without parental consent and free menstruation products to be offered in schools and prisons. State-run healthcare centers will also provide free hormonal contraceptives and morning-after pills.[2]
    • The bill also enshrines the right to an abortion in public hospitals, though doctors who object will not be forced to so long as they've already registered their objections in writing. Over 80% of abortions are currently carried out in private clinics due to a high number of public system doctors refusing to perform them — mainly for religious reasons.[3]
    • Following months of debate, the transgender bill allows anyone 16 years old and up to legally change their gender for any reason without parental consent, 14- and 15-year-olds to do so with a medical evaluation and parental consent, and 12- and 13-year-olds with court approval.[4]
    • The menstrual leave law provides a "three-day medically supervised leave, with the ability to extend to five, for those with disabling periods." However, it will be up to doctors to decide what pain is disabling and how many days off are needed.[5]
    • The driving force of these laws was Spain's equality minister Irene Montero, a member of the left-wing United We Can Party. Lawmakers are still debating amendments to another one of Montero's proposals, the "Only Yes Means Yes" bill, which makes verbal consent the key component in alleged sexual assault cases.[1]


    Left narrative

    As other democracies are backsliding in their respect for human rights, including for women and members of the LGBTQ+ community, Spain has decided to uphold the rights of female and transgender citizens. As the first country in Europe and one of only a few nations globally, Spain's menstrual leave law strengthens its status as a world leader in women's rights. Likewise, the gender affirmation law shows that Madrid's tireless work toward abolishing transphobic legal obstacles has finally paid off.

    Right narrative

    While every one of these radical left-wing ideas is to some extent scary, the most dangerous among them is the transgender law. The issue isn't actually about "left versus right" but about protecting Spain's youth. Under the guise of promoting "trans rights," the proposal is pushing a radical endorsement of irreversible and dangerous procedures for vulnerable children, while encroaching on parental rights and responsibilities.

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