Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Monday, June 7, 2021

Convicted For 'Advertising' Abortion, German Doctors Are Fighting To Share The Facts

From CNN:

Abortions are regulated by Germany's criminal code. They are permitted up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, but people seeking the procedure must attend a compulsory counseling session, which is followed by a mandatory three-day waiting period. After 12 weeks, terminations are only allowed under some exceptions, such as if the pregnancy or birth poses a risk to the mother's physical or mental health.

But the law doesn't just regulate the procedure itself. It also restricts abortion providers from publicly sharing any information about it. Until 2019, the law prohibited doctors from even disclosing the fact that they perform abortions. Now they can say that, but once they do, they are forbidden from sharing anything else.
While abortion is permitted in Germany, access to it is also somewhat limited.
One reason is the fact that roughly a third of Germany's hospitals are run by Christian charities and non-profits that do not provide abortions because of their beliefs. Doctors can cite conscientious objection against performing terminations.
[A] doctor who has also been convicted for having information on abortion on her website said she is concerned about patients not being able to find the facts they need they need to make an informed decision. [She] was fined €6,000 ($7,320) in 2017 and has since embarked on a journey through the German court system with the ultimate goal of having the ban struck down. She has appealed the verdict and filed a complaint to Germany's Federal Constitutional Court.
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