On Friday 24 June the Bundestag, the German Parliament, decided to abolish an article of law dating back to the Nazi period and forbidding doctors to provide information on the procedures used to procure an abortion. With this decision, doctors and health professionals will now be able to freely give information on abortion without the fear of being fined or convicted.
In Germany, termination of pregnancy is regulated by articles 218 e 219 of the Criminal Code. The first points to abortion as a crime, but specific also the conditions under which it is not punishable, ie within 12 weeks of conception and beyond 12 weeks in cases of rape, life threatening of the woman or malformations of the fetus.
The second concerns the right to medical advice, but with the full stop 219 it prohibited doctors from giving information on the possibility of abortion if it was in any way related to the promotion of their own services, punishing them with fines and sentences of up to two years in prison. This also meant that a woman who decided to have an abortion could not access all the information necessary to do it in a prepared manner.
On Friday, the parliamentarians of Die Linke, of the radical left, and those of the parties that support the government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz, i.e. the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Liberals of the Liberal Democratic Party (FDP), voted in favor of the elimination of Article 219a. that had proposed the reform last November during the coalition negotiations. Instead, they voted against conservative parties, including the far-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Alternative for Germany.
Article 219a was introduced in 1933 by the Nazi party as part of a demographic campaign for the protection of the so-called “Aryan race”. Those who oppose the right to abortion have systematically invoked it to intimidate and target doctors and clinics, with the result that there are currently circa 1.200 facilities where it is possible to legally abort, eight hundred fewer than those active twenty years ago.
Politicians began addressing the issue in 2017, when feminist movements launched a campaign to protest a Hessian court’s decision to fine Kristina Hänel, a gynecologist who posted a document on her website giving guidance on the issue. pharmacological and surgical abortion. Shortly before Friday’s vote, Hänel had told public television ZDF that deleting the paragraph would guarantee women the right to be informed about abortion.
– Read also: What happens now in the United States with abortion