Today’s Solutions: September 28, 2023

While some governments seek to limit women’s access to safe abortions, there are some in the developed world aiming to do just the opposite and even go a step or two further.

The Spanish government is poised to approve proposed legislation that will allow women who suffer from severe period pains to take several days of “menstrual leave” from the workplace each month. The measure is part of a more expansive draft bill on reproductive health and abortion rights.

According to local news outlet El Pais, the “medically supervised leave” could be extended to five days for women who suffer from severe and disabling cramps, nausea, dizziness, headaches, fever, and vomiting. The Spanish Gynaecology and Obstetrics Society state that approximately a third of women who menstruate suffer from severe menstrual pain, otherwise called dysmenorrhea.

In a recent interview with El Periodico, Spain’s Secretary of State for Equality and against Gender Violence Angela Rodríguez said: “when the problem cannot be solved medically, we think it is very sensible that there should be temporary incapacity associated with this issue.”

She goes on to clarify what constitutes a painful period, saying “we are not talking about a slight discomfort, but about serious symptoms such as diarrhea, severe headaches, fever.”

The draft law will also lower taxes on feminine hygiene products and ensure that free period products are available at schools and educational centers. It would effectively make menstrual health a part of Spaniards’ right to health and specifies that “stereotypes and myths about menstruation that still exist and that hinder women’s lives will be combated.”

On top of this, the health bill will also guarantee the right to seek an abortion cost-free within the country’s public healthcare system.

Currently, very few countries offer menstrual leave, among these are Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea, and Zambia.

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