Today when people all over the United States is fighting for their rights to abortion as Roe v. Wade is likely to be overturned, on the other side, Spain is approving a draft proposal which aims at widening abortion access and grant paid menstrual leaves to works.
This week Spain’s left-wing government approved a draft proposal that includes a broad range of reproductive rights provisions. Within that range of reproductive rights, there’s one that would make Spain the first European country to grant workers paid menstrual leave.
Under the plan, it’s said that women can take days off if they’re diagnosed by a doctor with severe menstrual pain. “Periods will no longer be taboo,” said Equality Minister Irene Montero, who was pushing the Bill’s passage. She also added, “No more going to work with pain, no more taking pills before arriving at work and having to hide the fact we’re in pain that makes us unable to work.”
Although we’re living in the 21st century, only a few countries have provided this benefit for its workers. Such as Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Zambia, and Indonesia. India has no legal infrastructure offering paid menstrual leave, however it had its own moment of reckoning last year when Zomato offered paid menstrual leave for their female employees.
The reproductive rights package also aims towards widening abortion access as it would also allow teenagers ages 16 and older to obtain an abortion without parental consent and remove the requirement that a pregnant individual seeking an abortion confirm the decision three days after requesting the procedure. It also includes provisions to widen access to sanitary pads for students. Spain’s parliament will have to debate the draft bill, in an approval process that could take months.
Caroline Hickson, regional director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network said, “a key part of the menstrual leave provision is that doctors can recommend sick leave for any health issue. In theory, if you have a painful period, you should be as entitled as any other illness,” she then added, “It’s really about the normalization of something so simple, so basic — that for years has been such a source of shame and stigma, embarrassment.”