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."
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.
Germany’s ambiguous abortion laws rankle with all sides
The country’s vague regulations are stirring tensions with both camps seeking change
Mon, Feb 5, 2018
It’s almost 20 years ago, but Annika* remembers her abortion clearly. It was 1999, she had just moved from Zürich to Berlin with her two children after the break-up of her marriage.
It was only during the second, hassled month of building a new life in the German capital that she noticed her period hadn’t arrived.