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Madrid offers assisted reproduction to all after lesbian couple ruling

Source: El Pais - Mon 12th Oct 2015
Madrid offers assisted reproduction to all after lesbian couple ruling

Just days after a court handed down a decision against government restrictions on assisted reproduction treatments, Madrid regional premier Cristina Cifuentes said her government will immediately open the publicly funded services to all women regardless of their sexual preference or marital status.

Therapies for assisted reproduction paid for by the public health system should be open to all women "across Spain" regardless of their personal situations, Cifuentes said in a radio interview last week.

The announcement came after a Madrid court ordered regional government health officials and the Fundación Jiménez Díaz hospital to pay compensation to a lesbian woman who was cut off from the program following an order from the Health Ministry to deny services to unwed mothers and gay women.

After the couple filed numerous complaints and a lawsuit in May, the hospital said that it would re-evaluate all the cases and the woman is once again back under the assisted reproduction program.

The hospital's decision to remove her from the program was based on a 2013 order by then-Health Minister Ana Mato, who excluded unwed mothers and lesbians from receiving artificial insemination and other fertility therapies paid for by the public health system.

Mato had issued the order based on a government decree to cut some €7 billion from the public health budget. Both Cifuentes and Mato are from the ruling Popular Party (PP).

But the court opined that the order went against legislation passed in 2006 on assisted reproduction, which clearly states that such treatment is available to women over the age of 18, "regardless of their civil status or sexual orientation."

It ordered both the regional government and hospital to pay €4,875 in compensation to the women.

Cifuentes said that neither the government nor the hospital will appeal the decision and confirmed that the patient is back in the program.

All women "have the same rights" when it comes to reproduction assistance, she said.

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