April 16, 2021

The German Executive agrees to soften the veto of publicizing abortion practices | Society

The German Executive agrees to soften the veto of publicizing abortion practices | Society



Report but under strict conditions. That is the result of the controversial legal reform on the advertising of abortion that the parties of the Grand coalition of the German Executive, after months of arduous negotiations and debate. The reform has the rejection of progressive parties and organizations, because they consider it too timid and ask for the total abolition of the prohibition to announce practices of interruption of pregnancy.

The dispute has revolved around the already famous article 219 a of the German penal code, a legal relic of the times of Nazism, which punishes with a maximum penalty of two years who advertises pregnancy termination services. The agreement reached by the conservative bloc of Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Social Democrats aims to expand that article to allow access to information on abortion, according to local media. The pact must still be approved by Parliament, where it could suffer modifications.

The reform does not eliminate the punishment of publicity on abortion, but it will allow informing the medical centers that abortions are performed there. The centers may make it public on their web pages. Whoever wishes to obtain additional information should contact the authorities and medical associations. In addition, the Medical Association of Germany will have a list in which all centers that perform abortions will appear and with what methods. The reform also includes an extension of contraceptive pill financing by health mutuals up to 22 years.

The 219 a is a legal rarity in the European context. Last year, gynecologist Kristina Hänel was fined 6,000 euros for advertising on her website information about where to go in case of an abortion. The objective underlying this regulation is to discourage women from interrupting their pregnancy. In Germany, abortion is allowed during the first trimester of pregnancy and always after consultation and advice with a specialist.

Both the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the majority of the opposition – The Left, Greens and Liberals – defend the elimination of the controversial 219 a. They also do organizations for the right to decide, which showed their rejection of the project of legal reform of 219 a, considering that it continues to criminalize the publication of information related to abortion and that women should be able to obtain all the necessary and detailed information of their doctors, without having to go to other instances. Paul Ziemiak, secretary general of the conservative and governmental Christian Democrat Union, tweeted, however: "The government approves the reform, but the prohibition to announce remains. Good news".

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