On Tuesday, the coalition government in Germany finally agreed to soften a Nazi-era law that restricts medical practitioners from providing information on abortions. But campaigners have asked for the complete removal of the clause.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet is expected to approve the bill on February 6, which will be then passed by both houses of parliament. Hospitals and gynaecologists will soon be allowed to share critical details related to where and how women can deal with unwanted pregnancies.
In Germany, abortions are allowed, but under German law they are rigorously discouraged through various bottlenecks, such as article 219a, the law in question, which dates back to May 1933, shortly after Adolf Hitler attained all powers of Nazi Germany.
This is a highly debatable topic with a large part of Germany split on the matter. On Saturday, a countrywide demonstration held in 30 cities in Germany wherein the campaigners asked the government to fully remove the 219a paragraph and restrict the abortion law.
According to campaigners, the abortion laws followed in Germany make women vulnerable as they limit abortion related information, and thus make it really hard for women to find out where that can get the procedure.
In 2018, a gynaecologist named Kristina Hänel was slammed with a €6,000 fine for abortion law infringement, as she breached the law by publishing abortion services’ related details on her website. The case revived arguments in the coalition government headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU).
Junior partners the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) favored removal of the paragraph, a demand highly supported by leftist opposition parties the Greens and Die Linke. The ruling parties finally reached on a compromise that many called a defeat on the face of the SPD.
While speaking on the highly heated matter, Health Minister Jens Spahn of the CDU mentioned that women must get the access to important information, however disapproved abortion-related advertisements, saying abortion is not a medical procedure alike others.