Spain has extended free fertility treatment, including IVF, to women in same sex relationships, single cis women, trans and non-binary people. This restores rights removed by the conservative Partido Popular government in 2013.
The PP government changed the law to only allow straight, married couples to access fertility treatment in public hospitals free of charge, meaning unmarried and LGBT people would have to pay for private health services. This obviously left poorer people less able to access reproductive technologies.
Health minister Carolina Darias (PSOE), signed the order at a ceremony, attended by LGBT+ activists, and later wrote on Twitter:
“Starting today, single women, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people will have access to [reproductive technology] on the Instituto Nacional de la Salud (national health service).”
Uge Sangil, president of Spain’s federation of LGBT+ rights groups, spoke at the ceremony:
“We have always understood that achieving rights such as assisted reproduction benefits lesbian and bisexual women and pregnant trans people, without harming anyone. It is an example of how recognizing LGBT+ rights means recognising human rights for society as a whole. We will not be able to be citizens with all rights fully recognised as long as the conditions of freedom and equality of all people are not guaranteed, whatever their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.”
They added: “We have history, we have memory, we have strength, we have conviction and we are right; they will never stop us.”
Spain was one of the world’s first countries to recognize same-sex marriage. This summer, the country agreed on a draft bill that would permit those over 16 to legally change gender without having to seek approval from parents or doctors. The legislation has been sent to parliament for approval.
Women’s and LGBT rights are not safe from the right. Vox, a far-right party and the third-largest in Spain’s lower legislative chamber, has advocated the repeal of some anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBTQ people. This year LGBT activists highlighted the case of a 19-year-old gay woman who visited a gynaecologist over a menstrual condition and was diagnosed with “homosexuality”.
As we can see from across Europe and Spain’s own history things can get worse as well as better.
Spain needs mass working class women’s and LGBT movements, and socialists and the labour movement fighting against oppression and for reproductive justice.