The Senate has supported this Wednesday two of the laws that together with the law of ‘only yes is yes’ make up the flagship legislative package of the Ministry of Equality. On the same day, the Upper House has given the green light to the reform of the abortion law by 146 votes in favor, 110 against and six abstentions, and to the trans law, which 144 senators have supported, 108 have voted against and two have abstained. The two will have to return to Congress for final approval after the changes introduced via amendments in the process and after rejecting the vetoes proposed by the PP and Vox.

Congress approves the abortion law that eliminates parental permission for 16 and 17-year-old girls


The scheme has been repeated in both debates, both lasting about four hours: the majority of the chamber has supported them, considering that they represent an advance in rights, while PP, Vox and Ciudadanos have opposed both, accusing the groups to approve them “without debate” and “without consensus” and have used the crisis due to the law of only yes is yes to charge against the trans law, assuring that it will have “undesired effects”, paraphrasing the different members of the Government who have referred as well as reductions in sentences for sexual offenders.

The Minister for Equality, Irene Montero, has closed the two debates by thanking “the feminist majority” of the chamber for supporting the legislation and has assured that she is aware that the trans law “has left things in the dark” but “it is one of the most important in the legislature because there is nothing more material than the right to be who you are”.

For its part, the abortion party, has celebrated, “it will allow all women to voluntarily terminate their pregnancy in the nearest public center”, that young people of 16 and 17 years of age can voluntarily terminate their pregnancy “without guardianship” and “as they do with any other medical procedure” or that “menstrual health” be recognized as “part of the right to health” of women.

The go-ahead for this reform has been given just at the moment when the Constitutional Court is trying to finally agree on a sentence that resolves the appeal filed by the popular in 2010. After 13 years of application of the law that allowed free abortion until week 14, there is still no ruling by the judges but the courts are about to give the green light to a reform that seeks to shield and strengthen the law.

The rule leaves the Senate with few changes despite the fact that the groups presented almost 200 amendments. What they have agreed is to include a transaction presented by the PSOE in full controversy over the measures on the ‘fetal heartbeat’ of Castilla y León, with which it is intended to veto public administrations from implementing practices that “seek to alter, either to strengthen, revoke or delay the formation of the will” of women who have decided to abort.

References have also been incorporated throughout the text to the fact that the information that women should receive or the campaigns for the prevention of violence linked to sexual and reproductive rights will also be made in the official languages ​​of the autonomous communities or that the language will be into account when ensuring the anti-discrimination approach of the law. At the request of ERC, it has also been added that women who have seen their rights violated must be informed of the existence of assistance services.

“We are not here to talk about abortion yes or abortion no”

For their part, PP, Vox and Ciudadanos have charged against the recovery of the right of 16 and 17-year-old girls to abort without parental consent, something that was already in the 2010 norm but was abolished five years later by the Government of Mariano Rajoy or against the elimination of the three days of reflection, the obligation to provide information to women about maternity benefits or the creation of a register of conscientious objectors.

An “unnecessary, hasty and without social or political consensus” law, the PP senator Antonio Román has said about it, which he assures that it entails “an alleged violation of fundamental rights” and that it supposes a “stigmatization and signaling” of health professionals . Vox has gone further, once again deploying its anti-abortion argument in plenary session and accusing the parties that support the rule of “promoting, under the umbrella of a supposed promotion of rights, a culture of death in which it is better to kill a human being than to help him move on”, in the words of Yolanda Merelo.

“Abortion yes or abortion no is not what we have come to talk about here today and we are not going to allow women to be discussed more about a right that is guaranteed”, responded the socialist senator Donelia Roldán. For her part, Eva Granados, also from the socialist group, has insisted, pointing out to PP and Vox that the law “does not force any woman to have an abortion” and has described it as “necessary” because women “want to be free, equal and we demand respect”, in addition to “correcting a setback that should never have occurred”, in reference to the popular reform of 2015. ERC parliamentarian Sara Bailac has pointed to the same thing, for whom this point of the norm is “urgent” and also He has lamented that “the right and the extreme right manage to lead us to debates that have already been overcome” on abortion.

Gender self-determination goes ahead

The debate on the Trans Law has been especially hard-fought, particularly with the interventions of popular senator Miguel de los Santos, who has insisted on promoting the PP as a formation that defends LGTBI rights despite voting against the norm. The popular has gone so far as to say that “that person” (referring to Javier Maroto without mentioning him) was able to marry a man in 2015 “because in 2011 Mariano Rajoy did not change a comma of the equal marriage law” without mentioning that the party voted against it in 2005 and even appealed it to the Constitutional Court. “I have never had a LGTBIphobia problem in my party,” he added.

“They voted against divorce, marriage equality and abortion, but then they use it. It has never promoted an expansion of the rights of women or LGTBI people”, stated the socialist senator Ana Agudíez, who has considered the Trans Law “a great advance for the development of the vital project of LGTBI people and their families” aimed at to “eliminate the obstacles that prevent them from living with dignity today.”

A position that is also shared by ERC, Junts, EAJ-PNV or Compromís, whose senator Carles Mulet has affirmed that with the norm Spain “makes history, late, and there is still a long way to go, but it is a step forward. This is despite the fact that both in Congress and in the Senate several of these groups consider the law “watered down” and have unsuccessfully tried to incorporate amendments that recognize non-binary people or that extend gender self-determination to all minors. age. The norm will have to go to Congress because the process in the Senate has incorporated some technical changes that do not modify the substance of it.

The call officially Law for the real and effective Equality of trans people and for the guarantee of the rights of LGTBI people will allow legal sex change for trans people without medical requirements. It will do so in three sections: without conditions for those over 16 years of age, with the consent of their parents between 14 and 16, and with judicial endorsement for those between 12 and 14. In addition, it prohibits conversion therapies, puts an end to the obligation of marriage so that couples of women bear their children and deploys measures against LGTBIphobia in the field of health, education and labor.

The disagreements that within the Government have marked the process of the law until almost the end have also appeared in plenary and some groups have made reference to the gap that gender self-determination has opened in the PSOE, with the abstention of Carmen Calvo in Congress, and the positions of a feminist sector critical of the norm that, the Senator for Ciudadanos Ruth Goñi has assured, has warned that “it will leave unprotected those it intends to protect” and goes “against women.”

A speech that Vox has also endorsed, which has described the rule as an “indoctrinating project” that will bring “irreparable damage” and “has the appearance of being unconstitutional”, Yolanda Merelo has stated, advancing the intention of the extreme right formation to appeal the legislation before the Constitutional Court. The entire bloc on the right, moreover, has accused the government of “stealing us the possibility of listening to specialists” who oppose the text because it is being processed as an emergency procedure.


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