The Senate Equality Commission gives the green light to the opinion on the abortion law with an update to introduce greater shielding in the face of the threat of protocols that try to condition the decision of women, such as the one that Vox wanted to implement in Castilla y León. Thus, the autonomous communities are obliged to “avoid” any practice aimed at dissuading or delaying the will of an applicant to terminate her pregnancy, such as giving her the fetal heartbeat.

It was precisely that controversy, and the strong institutional clash that it unleashed between the Government and the Junta, which precipitated the PSOE to take advantage of the fact that the new abortion law was still being processed in the Senate to present an amendment that would prevent measures such as those announced by the Vice President of Castilla y León, Juan García-Gallardo. The version of the regional leader of Vox about a new protocol was then that the fetal heartbeat or 4D ultrasounds would be applied to women who were going to terminate their pregnancy. That immediately unleashed a wave of protests for being considered a “coercion” and Moncloa’s response to send a request. The controversy ended a week later when the PP demonstrated that neither this nor other anti-abortion measures were part of the new protocol and that it was all a confusion generated by Vox’s words.

The PSOE now intended to revive this controversy with the debate on its amendment, however, it will not be able to do it as it wanted. The PP has neutralized the maneuver by assuming the anti Vox clause and blessing it with its support in presenting the law. Thus, the addition has been incorporated into the text with the signature of the popular and unanimously of the groups (Vox was not at the presentation).

This means that the PSOE will no longer be able to force an express vote on that anti-Vox clause. And, therefore, his desire to provoke a clash between the PP and Vox with the votes in the Senate, first, and in Congress, later, is truncated.

PP sources in the Senate affirm that the socialist amendment “reiterates in other words” what the norm already says and they attribute that the only objective that was sought was to reopen the debate again. That is why they conclude that after what has happened, the Socialists have been left with the face of “having shot themselves in the foot.” In any case, these sources emphasize that the PP defends that “the woman is not coerced” and that “they do not interfere in her decision beyond what the law says.”

As for the content of the aforementioned amendment, the “competent public administrations” are obliged not to interfere in “the free exercise of the right to terminate a pregnancy”. It says, and here is the key, that they must “prevent the applicant from being the recipient of practices that seek to alter, whether to strengthen, revoke or delay, the formation of her will regarding the interruption or not of her pregnancy, the communication of its decision and its implementation, with the exception of essential and pertinent clinical information”. It is emphasized that the “diagnostic and therapeutic interventions associated with the decision and practice of pregnancy termination must be based, in any case, on scientific evidence”.

The socialist spokesperson on the Equality Commission, Esther Carmona, emphasized the anti-Vox amendment seeks to “avoid protocols such as that of Castilla y León” and prevent any intention to “institutionalize the harassment that was previously brought to the doors of the clinics” . Without making any mention of the PP, she celebrated that it will be guaranteed that “nobody coerces women to decide what to do or not with their pregnancy.”

The Equality Commission approved the opinion of the presentation with 16 votes in favour, 12 against and two abstentions. The text and the living amendments will be voted on next week. The penultimate step to enter into force. The PP, as it already did in Congress, argued its rejection of the law for three reasons: to recover that women of 16 and 17 years old abort without parental permission, to eliminate the period of reflection and because of how conscientious objection is regulated.

The trans law project, which will allow the change of sex in the registry from the age of 16 without the need for treatment or medical or psychological reports, must return to Congress for its final approval, since the Senate has introduced “technical corrections” to the text in process.

Parliamentary sources have confirmed that two proposals for modification have been agreed, with which the text will be sent to the Lower House after going through the plenary session of the Senate next week. This is another unexpected delay, since no amendment was expected to be included. It will take another week.

The Equality Commission of the Upper House has in fact rejected all the amendments and also the vetoes registered by Vox and the PP, which has once again appealed to the women of the PSOE to oppose a controversial law that has opened cracks in the Feminist movement.

One of the “corrections” made to the text now involves simply changing the term “procedures” to “processes” in an article. The second, erase the possibility that officials can request a leave of absence for “intragender violence.”

In congress, PSOE and PP agreed that the law should not include any reference to intragender violence – that which occurs between same-sex couples – in order to maintain the prevalence of the fight against gender violence, but a reference was lost in the sixteenth final provision.

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