Germany abolishes Nazi-era abortion information law
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Germany abolishes Nazi-era abortion information law

The German Bundestag Friday abolished paragraph 219a of the Strafgesetzbuch, the German Penal Code, as part of the new government’s campaign to fully decriminalize abortion.

Paragraph 219a law read:

Anyone who publicly, in a meeting or by disseminating content… for their pecuniary benefit or in a grossly offensive manner own or third-party services to carry out or promote an abortion or means, objects or procedures that are suitable for the termination of pregnancy, with reference to this suitability.

The law has historically hindered access to abortion in Germany, as doctors were only able to promote that they perform abortions on their websites but not post any further information without facing two years in prison.

In an interview with the German news network Deutsche Welle, Kristina Hänel, a gynocologist who was subjected to a 6,000 EUR fine under paragraph 219a in 2017, claimed the move is “a step in the right direction of providing information for patients.”

The government’s action comes as part of an effort to abolish paragraph 218, a law which makes the performance of an abortion punishable by 3 years in prison for anyone involved in the procedure. The law is not enforced during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, if the pregnancy poses a threat to the life of the parent or in instances of rape.