A draft bill has been approved in Spain that would allow girls as young as 16 to have an abortion without parental consent. The bill will also remove the mandatory three-day period of reflection.
Women and girls in Spain can access abortion up until 14 weeks of pregnancy, or up to 22 weeks in severe cases of foetal abnormalities.
Government spokeswoman, Isabel Rodriguez declared the bill demonstrates “a new step forward for democracy”, and aims to reform a former abortion law approved by the conservative People’s Party seven years ago.
The new bill would also give citizens three days of menstrual leave, with a potential to extend it to five days for intense or incapacitating pain. The state social security system will pay for the menstrual leave, not employers.
If the bill is approved, Spain will become the first European country to offer workers paid menstrual leave.
Spanish actress and singer Cristina Diaz, 28, told Al Jazeera, “If a woman has a period that prevents her from working, I think it’s great that she can ask for a few days off like any person who has a health issue.”
Equality Minister Irene Montero said government institutions must “discard taboos, stigmas and guilt regarding women’s bodies”.
“Today, we send an international message of support to all women who are fighting for their sexual and reproductive rights,” Montero told reporters.
“We must guarantee that it is the women who decide what happens to their own bodies.”
Montero Tweeted that the bill “…speaks of what the coalition government is: a tool for women so that institutions guarantee rights and provide solutions to day-to-day problems for women.”
The draft bill also states the government’s intention to establish tighter restrictions on surrogacy, which is already illegal in Spain, and pledged to put a ban on all forms of advertisement for surrogacy agencies.
The left-wing coalition government believes surrogacy is a form of violence against women.
The bill’s proposals also seek to enhance the development of hormonal contraception for men, insisting that contraception is not the responsibility of women alone.
Madrid based- Spanish-language daily newspaper, El País reports that doctors in the country, historically Roman Catholic, will still be able to enrol to a register of conscientious objectors.
Image: Irene Montero, Twitter