NICHOLSON: Charity told NPR that it teaches the theoretical principles of abortion, but the decision not to offer practical instruction was made in consultation with the students. Federal Family Minister Lisa Paus wants abortion to be included in all medical curricula, but acknowledges that the current education gap boils down to the law. Abortion is illegal in Germany. And while certain circumstances protect doctors and women from prosecution in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, the stigma remains. Meanwhile, doctors performing abortions in Germany have begun to face the onslaught of active anti-choice activists who are protesting outside clinics, organizing marches in major cities, sending hate mail, and hitting social media with aggressive comments. BERLIN, 24. June (Reuters) – Germany on Friday repealed a Nazi-era law banning doctors from providing information about abortions. PIP: The German Bundestag has passed a compromise abortion law that makes an abortion performed in the first three months of pregnancy an illegal but unpunished act if the woman first sought independent advice. Article 218 of the German Penal Code, introduced in 1871 under Otto von Bismarck, allowed abortions for certain medical or ethical reasons. After the end of World War I, the Social Democrats tried to legalize all abortions during the first three months of pregnancy, but failed. In 1974, abortion on demand was declared legal and punishable for the first 12 weeks under the social-liberal coalition government of Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt; In the same year, however, the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe ruled that the draft law was incompatible with Article 2 of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to life and freedom from bodily harm for all, including unborn children. Germany`s highest court also ruled that a pregnant woman must seek a second opinion from an independent doctor before undergoing an abortion. A new and expanded Article 218, which contained a clause giving social advice, was adopted by the Bundestag.
When Germany was united, East Germans agreed to be subject to all West German laws except Article 218. The Bundestag had 2 years to revise the article; However, in 1993, the Federal Constitutional Court rejected a version that legalized abortion within the first 3 months of pregnancy if the woman had an independent doctor consulted, and proposed the compromise recently adopted by the Bundestag, the lower house of the German Bundestag. The upper house, the Federal Council, where the Social Democrats are in the majority, has not yet adopted it. According to the draft law adopted by the Bundestag, the national health insurance pays for an abortion if the monthly income of the woman requesting the abortion falls below a certain limit. Abortion in Germany remains technically illegal, although women and doctors are not subject to sanctions if the pregnancy poses a health risk, in case of rape or if the abortion is performed within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and after mandatory counselling. In 1976, the Federal Republic of Germany revised the Abortion Act. Under the new amendments to Article 218, sanctions for abortions will not be imposed on doctors and patients if several conditions are met: abortions cannot be performed after twelve weeks of pregnancy – or must be performed for reasons of medical necessity, sexual crimes or serious social or emotional stress – if they have been approved by two doctors and are subject to advice and a three-day waiting period. In 1989, a Bavarian doctor was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and 137 of his patients were fined for non-compliance with certification requirements. Jana Maeffert, a gynecologist at Doctors for Choice Germany, said the lack of information could lead to dire circumstances for patients who might discover too late that a clinic doesn`t offer what they`re looking for.
For example, doctors cannot state on their website “whether they offer medical or surgical abortions, or both. You can`t say you only operate until the 10th week of pregnancy, so a woman could drive to your office just to find out she can`t have an abortion there anymore,” because she`s already past that point in her pregnancy. And although the court upheld the law at the time and forced her to pay a reduced fine, her case brought the issue of abortion advertising into the public consciousness, and Dr. Hänel became one of the country`s best-known abortion rights activists. On June 6, 1971, the cover of the West German magazine Stern appeared with the title We Had Abortions! (German: We had an abortion!), and showed the photos of 30 women who had done it.  374 women, some, but not all, of whom had high public visibility, publicly admitted that they had terminated their pregnancies, which was illegal at the time. They challenged Article 218 and claimed their right to abortion.  Abortion is illegal in Germany and carries a penalty of up to three years in prison. But women and their doctors are not punished if the pregnancy poses a risk to the woman`s health or in case of rape. There is also a gap under which abortion can be performed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (14 weeks since the last period) after mandatory counselling. However, many obstacles remain.
It is important to check in advance if the counselling institution is able to give confirmation of the mandatory consultation, as some institutions do not offer it during counselling sessions. In addition, the German Medical Association has an overview of the 344 doctors performing abortions in Germany. Another look at doctors in Germany, Austria and Switzerland who offer abortions can be found here. Women in Germany protest against decriminalization of abortion “I really struggled to find information online,” said Verena, who was 22 when she faced an unwanted pregnancy. “There was no easy way to find out which doctors perform abortions, where they are or how the procedure is performed.” Possible side effects of medically induced abortions include mild to moderate abdominal pain, with moderate painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol being helpful.