Protests outside abortion clinics and family planning centers are underway in Germany. Reproductive rights advocates point to the influence of US money and tactics on the anti-abortion movement in Germany and Europe.
Mar 4, 2023
In the early afternoon on a gray and windy Friday in February, a dozen protesters from EuroProLife slowly began to appear opposite the Pro Familia family planning advice and counseling center in Frankfurt's Westend.
Clutching hymn sheets and rosaries, they chanted the Hail Mary prayer. Some held placards bearing images of smiling babies or a tiny clenched fist with the slogans "Unborn Lives Matter" and "Abortion Is Not a Solution."
Abortion opponents want to protest for 40 days in front of abortion clinics. Germany’s Family minister wants to stop this and secure access to abortion counselling by law.
Every year, the action group ’40 days for life’ organises protests across Europe around Lent. This year is no different in Germany. The demonstrations, modelled on the similar-named international Christian movement from the United States, aim to close down abortion centres through vigils, prayer and fasting.
The actions come as the centre-left German coalition government moves forward with its plans to decriminalise abortion — a plan set out at the beginning of its term. Family Minister Lisa Paus announced a law to give pregnant women who want to have an abortion unrestricted access to relevant counselling centres and medical practices. “Women must have unimpeded access to counselling centres and facilities that carry out abortions,” Paus told the editorial network Germany (RND). “Vigils in front of these institutions are border crossings and unacceptable interference in women’s highly personal decisions. The federal government will counteract this with legal measures.”
A Berlin-based activist group seeks to aid the rising number of women seeking help with abortion in Poland.
By Gouri Sharma
Published On 8 Aug 2022
For Zuzu*, an activist with the Berlin-based group Ciocia Basia that assists people seeking an abortion in neighbouring Poland, fielding calls is just one of many responsibilities she carries out.
Following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Zuzu and other activists working with partner organisation Abortion Without Borders (AWB) told Al Jazeera that the number of calls they are receiving has increased.
July 4, 2022
After the ban on publicizing information about the possibilities of performing or undergoing abortions in the country was recently lifted, Lisa Paus, German Minister for the Family, the Elderly, Women and Youth, said she was convinced that abortions are necessary. more steps in the same direction. The Greens politician told the Berlin “Tagesspiegel” in its Monday edition: “We must not stop there”.
The various medical methods of abortion should be part of the training of doctors, for example. Paus said that she is in talks with the Federal Minister of Health, Karl Lauterbach (SPD) on these issues.
Abortions should be regulated “outside the Penal Code,” Paus said. She added: “In the coalition, we have agreed that we will establish an expert commission that will address the general situation of reproductive rights in Germany and develop reform proposals and recommendations.” It is important that the committee be open-ended.
Paus reiterated her personal opinion that abortion should not be included in the Penal Code. However, the minister clarified that she does not want to anticipate the Commission or interfere in its work.
The government is following through on its pledge to decriminalize abortion. Officials plan to abolish a law that subjects doctors who publish information on abortion procedures to prosecution.
"I really struggled to find information online," said Verena, who was 22 when she found herself dealing with an unwanted pregnancy. "There was no easy way to find out which doctors perform abortions, where they are or how the procedure is performed."
Abortion is illegal in Germany and punishable by up to three years in prison. But the women and their doctors do not face penalties if the pregnancy poses a health risk to the woman or in cases of rape. Otherwise, an abortion may be carried out within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (14 weeks since the last period) after mandatory counseling. However, many barriers remain.
Majority vote ends law banning doctors from offering information about abortion procedures
Philip Oltermann in Berlin
Fri 24 Jun 2022
Germany has abolished a Nazi-era law that criminalises doctors who provide information about abortion procedures.
The governing social democrat, liberal and green parties, as well as the leftwing Die Linke, provided sufficient votes on Friday to scrap paragraph 219a of the German criminal code, which meant any doctor who publicly “offers, announces [or] advertises” abortion services could face penalties of up to two years’ imprisonment or a fine.
48 minute podcast
April 26, 2022
Meg Dalton, Jonathan Chang, Meghna Chakrabarti
From Nazi Germany to Mussolini's Italy, fascist regimes shared an early target: Women.
"The fascists passed laws criminalizing abortion both for doctors performing, for people providing information for women seeking," professor Anne Wingenter says.
Germany’s cabinet ministers back law that will allow doctors to provide information about abortions, but the procedures remain limited.
9 Mar 2022
Germany’s cabinet has approved legislation that will do away with a Nazi-era law forbidding doctors from providing information about abortions.
The bill put forward by Justice Minister Marco Buschmann on Wednesday must now be debated by both houses of parliament.
Doctors are currently banned from advertising abortion services and offering information online
Kate Connolly in Berlin
Tue 18 Jan 2022
A Nazi-era law banning doctors from giving women information about abortions is to be scrapped by Germany’s new government in a decision welcomed by activists who have long argued that it has hampered women’s ability to make informed choices.
The justice minister, Marco Buschmann, said that he will ditch Paragraph 219a from the penal code after almost 90 years, meaning that doctors will no longer have to fear prosecution if they provide information about the procedure.
January 17, 2022
BERLIN, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Germany's justice ministry presented a draft law on Monday that would do away with a Nazi-era law forbidding doctors to provide information about abortions.
Doctors in Germany are allowed to say they offer termination of pregnancies but are not allowed to provide any further information on such procedures.