How Spain advanced social rights in 2021

Migrant Crisis: National Police in Spain arrest 24 people for smuggling migrants
Migrant Crisis: National Police in Spain arrest 24 people for smuggling migrants. Image: Pixabay

As 2021 ends amid another Covid wave, we cannot forget the advancements in social rights in Spain heading into 2022.

2021 ends, a year marked by the Covid pandemic and its new normal. Although the main protagonist has been SARS-Cov-2, we cannot forget that many other things have happened that have allowed us to advance in social rights this year.

Things like a euthanasia law that has regulated the right to die, a trans law that allows free self-determination of gender and an animal protection law that contemplates vetoing the sale of pets in stores have been approved this year.


Javier Serrano, the first person to be euthanised

On June 25, the Organic Law regulating euthanasia came into force. From that day on, all people who meet the necessary clinical conditions can request help to die. This law came after decades of struggle by various groups and associations, and whose premise is to exercise the right “to a good death.”

Javier Serrano, a patient with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), was the first person to be euthanised in Spain.

A trans law and guarantee of LGTBI rights

After several months of intense negotiations with its government partners over the debate on gender self-determination, the Ministry of Equality presented on June 29 in the Council of Ministers the preliminary draft of the law for the real and effective equality of trans people and to guarantee the rights of LGTBI people.

It should be remembered that during the year 2021 the group has announced various attacks, among them is the murder of the young Samuel Liz.

Now, trans people over 16 years of age will be able to self-determine their gender without the need for hormones or psychiatric reports. They will simply have to appear at any Civil Registry office, report their disagreement with the assigned sex and make a request for a change. The text also contemplates the recognition of non-binary gender, among other things.

Equality proposed a reform of the abortion law

Equality Minister Irene Montero also announced that her ministry would focus on sexual and reproductive health policies.

The abortion law needs a reform,” said the minister, who considered it “essential to regulate the conscientious objection of doctors” to guarantee that any woman can go “to a public hospital close to her home” to access an abortion.

In September, Carolina Darias announced that the Health Ministry would not regulate conscientious objection in the voluntary interruption of pregnancy, but asked to be able to “reconcile and respect” all rights.

Sanchez announced aid of €250 to young people for rentals

In another vein, the Government began processing a housing law in October which it expects to be debated in Congress in February next year.

Undoubtedly, the most innovative measure of this broad law is the rental regulation mechanism, since it is the first time that a measure to intervene in the rental market at the state level has been implemented in Spain. The announcement by Pedro Sanchez of economic aid to rent of €250 per month for young people between 18 and 35 years old with incomes of up to €23,725 also raised great controversy.

Mental health in the spotlight

In a year with the pandemic at the centre, mental health has been given more visibility than ever. On December 2, the Interterritorial Health Council approved the new Mental Health Strategy from 2021 to 2026, which emphasises the prevention of suicidal behaviour and the detection and assistance to children and adolescents against bullying, cyber-addictions and cyberbullying or family abuse.

Work has been done on animal rights

Finally, the animal welfare law prepared by the Ministry of Social Rights and which still has no scheduled date of entry into force contemplates prohibiting cockfighting – still in force in two autonomous communities -, the veto to sacrifice abandoned animals, mechanisms of control for the breeding and sale or the prohibition of animals in circuses, among many other measures.

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Laura is from a small seaside town in North Wales and has also lived in Liverpool and Manchester, where she studied English Literature and worked in social media and marketing. Laura moved to the city of Zaragoza last August to teach English, but after missing the coast she decided to move to beautiful Nerja to enjoy the sun and sea. Laura has a passion for animals, films, outdoor activities, writing and the environment.


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