Coronavirus Created an Obstacle Course for Safe Abortions
But during the pandemic, a few countries liberalized their requirements, allowing at-home medical terminations.
By Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Alisha Haridasani Gupta and Monika Pronczuk
June 14, 2020
BRUSSELS — When a 19-year-old woman from southern Poland decided to end her pregnancy at 18 weeks, she knew the only way to get an abortion was to rush to a neighboring European country.
Abortion is illegal in most circumstances in Poland, and so for years, many women have traveled within Europe to seek the procedure.
But it was April, and across the continent, borders were closing fast because of the coronavirus pandemic. So she and a friend loaded up their Renault with instant noodles and candy for a 14-hour race to Utrecht, in the Netherlands. They made it just in time for her to have the procedure and return home, her friend said.
Activists in Germany demand legalization of abortion
Abortion in Germany, while pratically possible for most women, technically remains a criminal offence in all cases. Opponents of the laws want a full legalization, but that alone won't improve access, some activists say.
There, in the German Criminal Code, between the laws on murder and abandonment, sit paragraphs 218 and 219. They pertain to — and criminalize — abortion in Germany. On Saturday, activists will be taking to the streets to demand the paragraphs' removal as part of a global abortion rights demonstration.
Sarah Thibol, activist with the feminist organization Frauen*Kollektiv in Cologne, is one of many planning to protest. Her personal goal is "that women realize abortions are not legal in German. So many people are surprised the first time they hear that."
German court overturns abortion advertising conviction
July 3, 2019
BERLIN (AP) — A German court has overturned a doctor’s conviction for advertising abortions after the government loosened rules on the issue.
Kristina Haenel was fined 6,000 euros ($6,775) in 2017 by a court in Giessen after stating on her website that she carried out abortions. That violated a German law that bans “advertising” the procedure, and which carries a fine or a prison sentence of up to two years.
A higher court in Frankfurt said Wednesday it overturned the conviction and ordered a retrial. The ruling followed a compromise reached by Germany’s governing coalition earlier this year. Under the deal, the ban formally remains but doctors and hospitals are allowed to say on their websites they perform abortions, without giving more detailed information.
German parties reach deal on softening Nazi-era abortion law
Doctors would be able to share information about terminations if bill is approved
Tue 29 Jan 2019
Germany’s coalition government agreed in principle on Tuesday to soften a Nazi-era law that forbids doctors from advertising or providing information on abortion services.
It would allow gynaecologists, hospitals and public health services to share essential information about where and how women can terminate unwanted pregnancies.
A Hitler-Era Abortion Law Haunts Merkel, and Germany
By MELISSA EDDY
MARCH 27, 2018
BERLIN — She was an obscure gynecologist in a central German town who never intended to stoke a debate that is driving a wedge into Chancellor Angela Merkel’s new government. But faced with a fine under a Nazi-era law for publishing information about abortion on the website of her gynecological practice, Kristina Hänel said she had no choice but to publicize a prohibition that she calls “outdated and unnecessary.”
The law, paragraph 219a of the German criminal code, makes it a crime for doctors to publicly advertise in any way that they perform abortions, even though they are permitted in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. For decades, the advertising ban was largely overlooked. Many gynecologists who listed abortion among their offerings to prospective patients say they were not aware of its existence until they received notice from a prosecutor informing them of legal proceedings against them.
The German parliament is split over a Nazi-era abortion law that punishes doctors
by Jill Petzinger
March 15, 2018
One of the first orders of business for the freshly-formed government in Berlin next week was meant to be a vote on striking a law introduced by the Nazis in the 1930s, making it illegal for doctors to publicly say that they offer abortion services or abortion advice.
In a country as progressive as Germany, it may surprise some people to know that under section 219a of the criminal code, a medical professional is forbidden to publicly “offer, announce, or advertise” abortion services. Breaking the law is punishable with a fine or up to two years in prison.
The Renaissance of Germany’s Abortion Rights Movement
By Kathleen Brown
March 15, 2018
As Germany’s natalist far right rises, a growing progressive movement is challenging the country’s Nazi-era abortion laws.
In November 2017, German doctor Kristina Hänel was found guilty of breaking Paragraph 219a of the German Criminal Code and fined €6,000 by the Gießen District Court. Her crime? Listing abortion as a medical service on her practice’s website.
Dr. Hänel was charged under Nazi-era Paragraph 219a, which criminalizes advertising abortion services. The offense is punishable with up to two years in prison for anyone who publicly “offers, announces or recommends services for pregnancy termination.” In court, Hänel’s defense lawyer argued that her website remains informational and does not meet the definition of advertising. Nonetheless, the Gießen judge found Dr. Hänel guilty, justifying the ruling, “Lawmakers do not want to discuss abortion in public as if it were a normal thing.” Except, as Dr. Hänel and many women know, abortion is a normal thing. Over 100,000 individuals in Germany choose to terminate unwanted pregnancies each year.
German doctor lodges petition to change abortion law
A doctor fined for "advertising" abortions has presented a petition with 150,000 signatures to Parliament, demanding Germany's law be changed. Kristina Hänel says women have the right to information about the procedure.
Kristina Hänel and her supporters hold a sign with the number of signatures they have collected
Doctor Kristina Hänel handed over the petition with more than 150,000 signatures to members of Germany's Bundestag on Tuesday, urging them to scrap paragraph 219a of the criminal code.
Continued at source: http://www.dw.com/en/german-doctor-lodges-petition-to-change-abortion-law/a-41764640
German doctor fined for illegally 'advertising' abortions
Nov 24, 2017
Pro-life activists have taken a doctor to court over information she provides for her patients online. The case shows how complicated Germany's laws regulating abortion are – and that the issue is highly contentious.
Kristina Hänel, a general practitioner in the central German city of Giessen, received a €6,000 fine in court on Friday because of a single word on her practice's website. On the list of services she offers, Hänel includes family planning, sex counseling — and abortions.
Pro-life activists from the radical "Never again" initiative have sued her for this. They say Hänel is breaking the law, based on a rule stipulated in paragraph 219a of the German criminal code. It states that anyone who publicly "offers, announces [or] advertises" abortion services is to be punished with up to two years in jail or must pay a fine.
Continued at source: http://www.dw.com/en/german-doctor-fined-for-illegally-advertising-abortions/a-40598436
Doctor who ‘advertised’ abortion on her website fined €6,000
24 November 2017
A doctor who published information for women about abortions on her website has been fined €6,000 for breaking German criminal law.
61-year-old Doctor Kristina Hänel was found guilty by a district court in Gießen on Friday of “advertising” abortion on her website.
“The lawmakers do not want abortion to be talked about in public as if it is a normal thing,” the judge said in her ruling.
Continued at source: https://www.thelocal.de/20171124/doctor-who-advertised-abortion-on-her-website-fined-6000