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Spain Passes Laws for Paid Menstrual Leave, Trans Rights for Teenagers

The new law also banned conversion therapies intended to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

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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 this, Spain has become the first European nation to pass a law allowing for paid menstruation leaves.

Equality Minister Irene Montero, who was the driving force behind the laws strengthening rights said on the Parliament floor that the reforms recognised transgender persons' right to free determination. The new law also banned conversion therapies intended to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Trans people are not ill people,” she was quoted as saying by the New York Times. “They are people, full stop.”

"Today we have taken a giant step forward" by recognising the "free determination of gender identity", said Montero.

Right-wing parties in Spain opposed the reforms but were overruled by the ruling left-wing MPs.

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Rights for Teenagers

A package of reforms approved by Spanish MPs empowers individuals above 16 to affirm their gender legally without medical supervision.

Those between 14 and 16 will also be allowed to do that if they are accompanied by their parents or legal guardians.

Minors between 12-13 years old will need a judge's authorisation to change.

A separate law was also passed to ban the so-called "conversion therapy" for LGBTQ people. The legislation provides state support for lesbians and single women seeking IVF treatment, the Associated Press reported.

Abortion Rights for Teenagers

Under a new law, teenagers in Spain will not need consent from their parents to undergo an abortion. Unlike previously when state doctors denied abortion citing religious reasons, women now have the right to have an abortion in a state hospital.

State-run health centres will also provide hormonal contraceptives and the morning-after pill. Period products will also be provided in schools and prisons, AP reported.

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