Germany abolishes ban on abortion ads


Central Europe

German demonstration for abortion advertisements. Photo EPA, Hayoung Jeon

The German cabinet decided to remove the national ban on abortion advertisements from the penal code as described in article 219a.

The decision means that doctors can post more information about abortions on their websites. Up till now, they were only allowed to state that they offered the service, Pro reports. If they provided more information about abortions, they risked criminal investigations.

The German minister of Justice, Marco Buschmann, says in a reaction that it was intolerable that doctors who are the best at providing information about abortion could expect criminal prosecution. In his opinion, women should be able to get the best information directly from their doctor and online. According to Buschmann, abolishing the abortion ban is an essential step towards self-determination.

The ban on abortion advertisements is an old political debate in Germany. Up until January, there was no change, since the Christian Democrats in the Merkel government would not allow that. The new Traffic Light coalition with secular parties decided to for an alternative direction for many family-related subjects.

“Ban is essential part of balance”

The Left Party, the SPD, Greens and FDP welcome the decriminalisation of abortion ads. Susanne Hennig-Welsow, leader of the Left Party, sees the decision as overdue and demands that the coalition also tackle the abolition of the abortion ban in general. Currently, abortions are only allowed under certain circumstances.

The Christian Democrats criticise the abolition of paragraph 219a. The ban is an essential part of the balance between the protection of unborn life and the freedom of women to decide, Mechthild Heil explains. Heil is the Chairwoman of the Women's Group of the CDU/SCU parliamentary group and also Chairwoman of the Catholic Women's Community.

The next step towards the abolition of the advertisement ban is the decision of the Bundestag. If the Bundestag votes in favour, the removal of the ban can come into force.



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