On Thursday, the Congress of Deputies approved the transgender law and the abortion law, both promoted by the Ministry of Equality. The partners of the Executive, PSOE and Podemos, voted together on both laws, while they continue to be at loggerheads over the reform of the “only yes is yes” law.
The Transgender and LGTBI rights law allows a change of sex in the Civil Registry without the need for the person to have, as is now required, a medical or clinical psychological report accrediting “gender dysphoria”. It will be enough to request the change in writing, without the need to present evidence or witnesses, and to ratify it within a period of three months.
This measure will also apply to minors from the age of 16. In addition, those between 14 and 16 years of age must be accompanied by their parents to carry out this process, while if the minor does not have their consent, a judicial defender will be appointed to resolve the conflict.
From 12 to 14 years of age, the sex can also be modified as long as the minor has the authorisation of a judge, who will examine their maturity, and minors under 12 years of age cannot change their registered sex but they can change their name to adjust it to the gender with which they identify.
But this law also includes other measures related to the so-called “LGTBI collective”, such as their access to assisted reproduction or the filiation of the children of lesbian couples without them having to be married.
Despite the final agreement between the socialists and the “purple”, the Transgender and LGTBI rights law is one of the texts that has most evidenced the discrepancies in the heart of the Government. In fact, although the law was approved in the Council of Ministers, the PSOE presented amendments to the text in Congress to limit the “self-determination of gender” of minors and to toughen the reversion process for trans people.
During the processing of the Law in the Equality Commission of the Lower House, these amendments were rejected and, in the end, the socialists decided to withdraw them for debate in the Plenary and in the processing of the text in the Senate.
The leading exponent of this socialist criticism of the law has been the former Vice-President of the Government and former Minister of Equality, Carmen Calvo, who left the Executive in the midst of the controversy over this law. Calvo abstained in the vote on the law and has been fined for breaking her party’s voting discipline in Congress.
On the other hand, on Thursday Congress also approved the “organic law modifying the Law on sexual and reproductive health and the voluntary interruption of pregnancy”, which has reached Congress after the Senate plenary gave the green light to the text last week.
This reform of the abortion law gives minors aged 16 and 17 the option to have an abortion without parental consent and protects access to abortion against pro-life protocols such as the one agreed between VOX and PP in Castilla y León, a protection that was backed by the Popular Party.
With this amendment, article 24 of the law states that the administrations must “guarantee the free exercise of the right to terminate a pregnancy under the terms of this law and, in particular, will ensure that the applicant is not subjected to practices that seek to alter, either to strengthen, revoke or delay, the formation of her will on whether or not to terminate her pregnancy” with “the exception of the essential and relevant clinical information”.
“Women’s access to voluntary termination of pregnancy is protected to avoid approving an inexplicable anti-abortion protocol to blame and protect women who freely and voluntarily decide to have an abortion, to avoid what happened in Castilla y León and that no other Autonomous Region tries to do like the PP and VOX, because women do not need to be protected”, remarked the PSOE senator María Esther Carmona, during the debate.
The reform of the abortion law has been approved this Thursday in the Congress of Deputies with the support of PSOE, Unidas Podemos, Esquerra Republicana, CUP, EH Bildu, Más País; and the vote against of PP and VOX. In total, it received 185 votes in favour, 154 against and 3 abstentions.