Spanish cabinet passes state-paid menstrual leave

No more going to work drugged up with pills, says minister

17 May, 17:28

    Spanish Equal Opportunities Minister, Irene Montero, addresses a press conference after the weekly Cabinet meeting Spanish Equal Opportunities Minister, Irene Montero, addresses a press conference after the weekly Cabinet meeting

    MADRID - Spain's cabinet on Tuesday gave its first approval for a draft law on "sexual and reproductive" rights of women that includes monthly leave for "painful" and debilitating" menstrual leave covered by the state.

    Following days of debate, official confirmation came during a press conference by Equal Opportunities Minister Irene Montero.

    "The time is over of going to work drugged up on pills and having to hide that we are suffering pain that prevents us from working," she said. "We are the first country in Europe to bring in special temporary leave for painful menstruation entirely paid for by the state," she added.

    Eligibility for access to this leave, the minister said, is that "linked to this painful menstruation there is debilitating pain that in many cases is linked to other pathologies." Montero, from the left-wing party Podemos, said that it would not be necessary to have paid social security contributions before getting access.

    "We are advancing in feminism. Women should be able to decide freely about their lives," Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez tweeted.

    The leave for painful periods is part of a wider draft law on women's rights, including abortion.

    The text includes measures such as the eliminating of the obligation for parental authorization for girls between the age of 16 and 17 for an abortion, which had been introduced by the center-right.

    It also includes the guarantee that everyone asking for it will find doctors willing to carry out abortions in the "closest" public health system, where they live, while at the same time maintaining "compatibility" with the right to conscientious objection.

    It includes the elimination of a three-day "period of reflection".

    The text will have to undergo another reading in the cabinet and will after that begin a fast-track parliamentary procedure.

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