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Spain approves "period pain" law allowing women to take medical leave

Spanish women suffering from "period pain" will now be able to take medical leave, guaranteed by a new government law – the first European country to do so – passed on Thursday. 

Women will be allowed to stay at home for a few hours during the working day or take medical leave if pain prevents them from working, the legislation said, and it guarantees menstrual health as part of the country's right to gender equality in health.

"The rule is going to stop being a taboo," said Minister for Equality Irene Montero, a driving force behind the law's implementation in a news statement on the government's website.

The new legislation reformed a 2010 law guaranteeing women's sexual and reproductive rights and the protections enshrined on Thursday establish Spain's position as one of Europe's most progressive countries on abortion and reproductive rights. 

The law now allows 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds to get an abortion without parental consent, the legislation said. The government also expanded public financing of contraceptives and the development of male hormonal contraception

Free distribution of the morning-after pill is guaranteed in health centers and services throughout Spain, the legislation said.

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