Germany abolishes Nazi-era law that criminalized doctors’ abortion ads

German flag in front of building

by Madeline Simmons

July 01, 2022 C.E.

Germany has abolished a Nazi-era law criminalizing doctors for providing information about abortion procedures, according to The Guardian. This former law, paragraph 219a of the German criminal code, allowed for medical professionals to face charges if they advertised, made announcements about, or offered abortion services. 

Despite this law rarely being used for decades, in recent years, anti-abortion activists began to use it to target doctors providing abortion services. Dr. Kristina Hänel, a gynecologist, was fined €6,000 ($5,408 USD) in 2017 for having information about abortion services published on her website.

As it stands, abortions in Germany remain illegal, though women and doctors do not face penalties if the pregnancy poses a health risk, in cases of rape, or if the abortion is carried out within the first 12 weeks and after mandatory counseling. Ultimately, the abolishment of 219a will provide medical professionals with the ability to distribute information about abortion procedures without being arrested or fined. Many German citizens are considering this an important milestone for women’s rights and bodily autonomy.


Era: Today (2017 C.E. - 2024 C.E.)
Year: 2022 C.E.
Topic: Women's rights & well-being
Region: Europe
Country: Germany
Actor Type: Nations

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