The Government approves the reform that consolidates abortion and expands the sexual rights of women

The Council of Ministers approved this Tuesday the reform of the abortion law that will try to put an end to the obstacles to its access identified so far and extend sexual and reproductive rights. The norm, which is an organic law by which the current 2/2010 is modified, buries the setbacks that the PP carried out with the rights of 16 and 17-year-old girls and seeks to bring voluntary interruptions of pregnancy to public centers. But it is not only an abortion law, but it goes further and recognizes the right to menstrual health or reinforces access to contraception.

Thousands of women are forced each year to travel to other provinces to abort

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The Minister for Equality, Irene Montero, who brought the text to the meeting together with the Ministry of Health, assured at the subsequent press conference that it is a rule "that expands rights" and "takes a decisive step to guarantee" access to abortion and women's sexual and reproductive rights. "The institutions assume the responsibility of leaving behind the stigmas and prejudices about women's bodies", added the minister.

The text thus begins its process, which the Government wants to take through the urgent route with the intention that it enter into force before the end of the legislature. Even so, he will still have to collect the reports from the advisory bodies to return to the Council of Ministers and begin his journey in Congress and the Senate, where he can undergo changes.

access to abortion

The law admits that Spain "has made substantial progress in this matter" especially due to the law of terms approved by Zapatero in 2010, which established free abortion until the 14th week. However, twelve years later, there are elements that stop the exercise of the rights that are intended to be corrected, among them, the territorial inequity that makes thousands of women must move every year of their provinces to be able to undergo the intervention or the majority of abortions are carried out in concerted private clinics, where 85% of the interventions are carried out.

The idea is to gradually change the model and for public centers to assume the service directly. To do this, the communities must carry out a register of conscientious objectors, obliges the health services to "always guarantee" that they have sufficient health personnel to perform abortions and establishes as a requirement that the interventions be carried out only "exceptionally" in a accredited private center With regard to abortion, the law also restores the right to interrupt pregnancy from the age of 16 without parental consent. "Most will trust their parents, but the decision will be theirs," Montero assured.

In addition, the obligation to receive information on maternity is eliminated and delay the decision three days as a "reflection period" as requirements. “Women can reflect for as long as they need, but the State does not oblige and does not doubt its decision”, in the words of the minister.

The government ministers have seen the text on Tuesday after the negotiations jumped into the public sphere last week with the leak of the draft of the Ministry of Equality. The discussion focused on some measures such as dismissals due to incapacitating rules, which the coalition partners did manage to close, or the reduction of VAT on products for the rule, which has finally been ruled out after opposition from the Ministry of Finance. The prepartum permit, which Irene Montero's department proposed from week 36, has been included from week 39, the last of pregnancy.

The right to menstrual health

For the first time, the law recognizes menstrual health as an "inherent part" of sexual and reproductive rights and obliges public authorities to "combat" stereotypes about the rule "that negatively impact the access or exercise of human rights of women, adolescents and girls”. In this area, the Ministry of Health must establish standards of attention to menstrual health and special temporary disabilities are regulated as sick leave due to painful periods paid from the first day by Social Security. In addition, the distribution of products for menstruation in educational centers, social services and prisons is planned.

The norm intends that the contents on sexual and reproductive rights enter once and for all in the classrooms, with a perspective based "on consent" and the promotion of relationships of good treatment. Within this framework, menstrual education must be specifically addressed and done in a "comprehensive" way in schools to try to combat "the myths, prejudices and gender stereotypes that menstrual stigma generates."

Another area that the law plans to reinforce is the right to contraception, and not as an issue that only concerns women. For this, the administrations will have to implement public policies aimed at "co-responsibility in contraception" and undertake to investigate and, where appropriate, market contraceptives for men. In addition, health centers will make the morning-after pill available free of charge, while social services and prisons and educational centers within the framework of sex education campaigns will be able to distribute condoms.

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