Women’s rights website blocked in Spain​

Spanish authorities blocked the website of Women on Web (WOW), a non-profit organisation sharing information on safe medical abortions. This coincides with an increase in barriers faced by women and girls when accessing sexual and reproductive health services because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

Women’s Link Worldwide are supporting WOW to take litigation in Spain to challenge the blocking of WOW’s website. Additionally, they will ask the courts to recognise access to information on sexual and reproductive health services, especially during the pandemic, as a key part of the right to abortion and the right to information in Spain.

In January 2021, Women’s Link filed a lawsuit on behalf of WOW at the Spanish National Court.

Women’s rights website blocked in Spain

Organisation Name

Women’s Link Worldwide, with Women on Web

Country/Jurisdiction

Spain

Thematic Area

Free flow of information online

Current Status

Case won

Grant type

COVID-19 Litigation Fund

Description

Spanish authorities blocked the website of Women on Web (WOW), a non-profit organisation sharing information on safe medical abortions. This coincides with an increase in barriers faced by women and girls when accessing sexual and reproductive health services because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

Women’s Link Worldwide supported WOW to take litigation in Spain to challenge the blocking of WOW’s website. Additionally, they asked the courts to recognise access to information on sexual and reproductive health services, especially during the pandemic, as a key part of the right to abortion and the right to information in Spain.

In January 2021, Women’s Link filed a lawsuit on behalf of WOW at the Spanish National Court.

On 3 October 2022, the Supreme Court of Spain ruled in favour of WOW and ordered the partial unblocking of their website. In its ruling, the court considers that the information, recommendations, and opinions on sexual health and reproductive rights that WOW provides on its website are protected by the right to information and freedom of expression. Therefore, according to the Spanish Constitution, its website cannot be blocked without judicial authorisation.

The decision creates an important judicial precedent in terms of the right to information and freedom of expression on the internet, since, for the first time, it establishes that judicial authorisation will always be mandatory when blocking information published on the internet.

"This means all women can have accessible, high quality, and non-discriminatory information on sexual and reproductive rights and services like access to abortion via telemedicine"

Strategic Goal

To ensure information about sexual and reproductive health services, including access to abortion, is freely available online in Spain. This means all women can have accessible, high quality, and non-discriminatory information on sexual and reproductive rights and services like access to abortion via telemedicine. To ensure that the protection and promotion of the free flow of information online includes women’s rights.

Organisation Name

Women’s Link Worldwide

Image credit: Michelle Ding on Unsplash