Spain wants to introduce paid menstrual leave, a first in Europe

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MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s ruling left-wing coalition on Tuesday approved a bill to strengthen the right to abortion and make Spain the first country in Europe to offer paid leave funded by the condition for women suffering from painful menstruation.

With this text, the socialist-led government hopes to guarantee access to abortion throughout the country and end the taboo of menstruation at work.

“Today we send an international message of support to all women who fight for their sexual and reproductive rights,” Equality Minister Irene Montero, from the left-wing Podemos party, told reporters.

The new law, if passed, will allow minors over the age of 16 and 17 to abort without parental consent, and will remove the mandatory three-day cooling-off period before performing an abortion.

The project also provides paid leave for pregnant women from the 39th week of pregnancy and guarantees the distribution of free menstrual hygiene products in public institutions.

The text also stipulates that surrogacy (GPA), illegal in Spain, is a form of violence against women.

The bill has sparked a debate in Spain over whether paid menstrual leave will help or hurt women in the workplace.

Actress and singer Cristina Diaz, 28, applauds the measure. “If a woman has periods that prevent her from working, I think it’s great that she can ask for a few days off like anyone who has a medical condition,” she said.

The bill is not expected to be approved for several months.

(Christina Thykjaer, Belén Carreño and Emma Pinedo; French version Diana Mandiá)

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