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December 11, 2017

Germany: Right to information about legal abortion

type: Petition, Protest
by: Deniz Zehra Tavli

On her homepage, Kristina Hänel, a general practitioner from Gießen in Germany, enables interested people to receive information about a legal abortion via a link. She informs about the legal requirements, as well as the methods and risks of an abortion. In addition, she offers a personal consultation for interested parties. This neutral providing of information is interpreted as "advertisement" by anti-abortionists. In the past ten years Kristina Hänel has been reiterated by anti-abortionists for advertising abortion which is illegal by law §219a of the German Penal Code- a criminal law paragraph from 1933, which was originally created to i.a. criminalize Jewish doctors during the course of the establishment of the Nazi-regime and its jurisdictions. Ultimately in 1943 the criminal law standard was restructured according to eugenic and population-political aspects. In the course of the legislative changes on abortion, §219a was changed only slightly.

The anti-abortionists use regularly §219a to inform, harass and intimidate doctors. On their websites, the movement lists doctors and clinics that carry out abortions and list out the innumerable criminal charges that have been filed so far.

There are detailed legal regulations in Germany on doctor's rights for advertisement as well as the right for abortion and obtaining information about it. Kristina Hänel considers the §219a which claims that advertising abortion is a legal crime against life as outdated and superfluous. In her opinion, it hinders the right of women for medical information about a legal abortion. That way, counseling centers decide where women can go to carry out an abortion, since many doctors are intimidated and removed their informations on legal abortion from their websites out of fear of prosecution. Kristina Hänel thinks  that women must have a free choice of doctors and be able to inform themselves medically and properly. On her petition page, she writes:

"I am in favor of the women's right to get access to information about abortion and the medical services of doctors. Information law is a human right. §219a hinders this right."

If you consider the right to information as a human right and the right to access information about legal abortions as a women's right, then you may support Kristina Hänels petition on The petition will be delivered by December 12th to the Germany Bundestag.