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 doctors convicted over abortion law
The doctors were found to have broken a regulation that forbids describing how an abortion is performed. Campaigners have argued that lack of access to information is a health and rights issue.
Two Berlin gynecologists were fined €2,000 euros ($2,250) on Friday for violating Germany's controversial Paragraph 219a law, which forbids doctors from "advertising" that they perform abortions. The doctors had been facing penalties of up to €7,500 euros.
Despite a recent reform of the law that gave doctors the right to state on their websites that they offer the service, the law still forbids them from describing how they perform the procedure. "The situation is simple," said presiding Judge Christine Mathiak.
German court fines two doctors over abortion 'advertising'
Date created : 14/06/2019
A German court Friday fined two gynaecologists for offering information online about their abortion services, rekindling an emotional row over a Nazi-era law banning practitioners from advertising pregnancy terminations.
German law allows abortions but effectively discourages them through various hurdles, including the law in question, Article 219a, which dates to May 1933, shortly after Adolf Hitler took power.