Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:
Giving information about abortion in Germany: 6000 euro fine
In an open letter to the German government, doctors, lawyers and trade unions demand an end to a controversial anti-abortion law. Since 1933, since the Nazi time, it is illegal for our eastern neighbours that doctors give public information about abortion. That is seen as ‘advertising’. Even indicating that you do it as a doctor is punishable. This has major consequences for doctors and for women who want an abortion.
Kristina Hänel found that out as well. She is a GP and has specialized as an abortion doctor in the Netherlands. She put a brochure of three pages on her website, in which she informs patients about the process ….
In Germany, various anti-abortion groups are active that monitor all websites of all doctors. They filed a complaint against Hänel. “The judge found that I gave factual information, but according to the law it had to be classified as advertising, and I was sentenced to a 6,000 euro fine.”
She is not the only one. Every year 25 to 30 doctors in Germany are convicted for violating paragraph 219a of the German Penal Code.
The law in question was introduced by the Nazis in 1933. According to Hänel they wanted to make it impossible for Jewish doctors to work because they performed abortions more often than Christian colleagues.
After the war, the Allies retained the law because they could not discover a specific Nazi ideology in it. In many countries, abortion was completely banned at the time, and an advertising ban on something that was forbidden was in their view not illogical.
And although abortion in Germany is now regulated by law, it remains impossible to inform women about it in public. “I think that is absurd and not of this time anymore”, says Hänel.
The effect of the law is also that women can hardly find the addresses of doctors who perform abortions. In theory, they should receive it from the “maternity counseling service”, where you are obliged to go if you want an abortion.
In some regions, the Catholic Church controls that service, and it simply refuses to tell which doctor can perform the operation. Some GPs also refuse to tell it on principle.
The only German website that lists all abortion doctors is a hate site of an anti-abortion activist: Babykaust.de. There, abortion is compared with the Holocaust. The addresses can be found between bloody images of fetuses.
“I think that’s terrible for women”, says Hänel. Since she is mentioned on that site with name and address (“I am a VIP there”), she is also threatened with death.
A majority of German parties want to delete the notorious paragraph from German law, but Merkel‘s combination of CDU and CSU parties prevents that. Certainly the CSU is taking a very conservative course this year, because the party wants to win the elections in its own federal state of Bavaria [where they are trying to outflank the neofascist AfD party on the right].
Government coalition junior partner the SPD has given Merkel until the autumn to make a change, otherwise they themselves will put it on the agenda. They could cause a crisis in the government coalition. But many Germans wonder if the party will dare to do that. Hänel also: “I have yet to see it”.
She laughs and says that she will keep up her fight anyway. “I am a marathon runner, so I have a long breath, I do not give up.”
See also here.