The EU Parliament’s recent feminist fact-finding mission to Spain returned to Brussels shocked at the government’s nonchalant response over concerns pertaining to two new laws, ‘Only Yes is Yes’ and the ‘Trans Law,’ that are already having a direct, negative impact on women.
The delegation from the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee was in Madrid February 20-22 and met with Spain’s Minister of Equality Irene Montero Gil, Minister of Justice Pilar Llop, and members of the country’s judicial branch, including a supreme court justice.
According to a press release from the committee, the delegation’s mission was to examine “developments in gender equality policies in Spain.” Most of the women’s rights delegation had hoped to find in Spain an example of progressive feminism. Spanish MEP Margarita de la Pisa Carrion with the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR) and member of the delegation explained in an interview with El Debate that the mission had been planned since the summer as a congratulatory trip on Spain’s gender equality policies. According to the ECR MEP, the real purpose of the mission had been to evaluate “the Spanish model of equality laws, but as an international reference model.” It was clouded over, though—according to de la Pisa—by the adverse effects of the recently passed ‘Only Yes is Yes Law’ as well as the controversial ‘Trans Law.’
Promoted as protecting women by criminalizing any non-consensual sexual acts as sexual violence, and putting the burden of proof on the accused to show that he had obtained consent, the ‘Only Yes is Yes Law’ has also caused the reduction in sentences of over 500 sexual criminals, including the early release from prison of rapists. This is due to the legal technicalities of how the law was written and the Spanish constitution’s requirement that sentencing always be favourable to the prisoner, even retroactively. Various legal experts had advised Montero of the dangerous legal consequences, but she insisted on passing the law as it was written by her ministry.
Many feminists are also concerned that the ‘Trans Law’ essentially erases women and the legal protections gained for them by feminists, including strict legal protection in the face of domestic violence. The law allows for a legal sex change without having undergone cross-sex hormone treatments or sex reassignment surgery, meaning any man can simply claim to feel like a woman and then be entitled to the same protections accorded to biological women. One man convicted of sexual violence towards women is already being allowed to serve his sentence in a woman’s prison after having made a legal sex change.
It had been De la Pisa’s wish to demonstrate “the complicity that the EU can have with Spain in proposing a mission of such characteristics for the greater glory of policies such as those that are being carried out from the Ministry of Equality.”
Such complicity may be over after the delegation’s findings, at least with the present government.
El Debate reports that sources close to the meetings between MEPs and Spanish officials and judges said the delegation came away “perplexed” at Montero’s attitude, “above all her way of referring to and conducting herself with the judiciary” and her “refusal to assume the consequences of the disaster.” The head of the delegation also reminded Montero that judges make their rulings according to the law, not ideology, according to OKDiario.
Montero has continued to defend both laws as they currently stand, blaming the reduced sentences of male sexual offenders on the judges’ misogynistic interpretation of the law.
The delegation also asked Llop, Spain’s minister of justice, if she had considered the possible negative consequences for women with respect to the ‘Trans Law.’ Reportedly, she admitted she had not.
Montero is a member of the far-left Unidas Podemos, the minority party of the coalition government led by the Socialists and President Pedro Sánchez. Llop is a Socialist.
PM Pédro Sánchez pledged weeks ago to reform the ‘Only Yes is Yes Law,’ even against the opposition of his coalition partners, but nothing has been presented to parliament yet while the parties blame each other for negotiations stalling.
The delegation is expected to release its report on the mission in March or April. If it is true to the facts, it should question whether progressive feminism mixed with transgender ideology is good for women.