Germany – The Growing Fight Against Nazi-Era Abortion Limits

The Growing Fight Against Nazi-Era Abortion Limits
Her case exposed Germany's abortion laws for a new generation — and she's not stopping there.

By Fiona Zublin
Nov 8 2019

In 2017, Kristina Hänel — a wiry German doctor with kind eyes and a cool outdoorsy aunt vibe — became a cause. She’s a doctor who offers abortion services, and she, as others had been before her, was fined $6,700 (€6,000) for “advertising” the procedure on her website.

What sets her apart is the fight. Her ongoing battle against that fine, expected to go all the way to the European Court of Human Rights, has sparked a new interest in abortion rights among Germany’s younger generation. Hänel might seem an unlikely ringleader: The 63-year-old grandmother of five, who plays the accordion and rides horses in her spare time, spent her life focused on medicine, not activism. But performing abortions, particularly in modern Germany, is activism — and Hänel is the reason many people now know that.


German doctor fined for illegally ‘advertising’ abortions

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.

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