Bundestag deletes Paragraph 219a: Ban on advertising for abortions abolished

Status: 06/24/2022 11:01 a.m

Paragraph 219a has been contested for years, now it belongs to history. The Bundestag decided to abolish the advertising ban for abortions. The traffic light spoke of a “triumph”, criticism came from the Union.

With a large majority, the Bundestag decided to abolish paragraph 219a. So far, it regulates the ban on advertising for abortions. At the same time, however, it has also meant that doctors cannot publicly offer detailed information about abortions without fear of prosecution.

The coalition factions of SPD, Greens and FDP as well as the left faction voted for the deletion of criminal law paragraph 219a. Union and AfD voted against it.

Buschmann: “Out of time”

Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann from the FDP called the abolition overdue. “It’s high time,” said Buschmann in the final debate in the Bundestag. Every conviction under criminal law paragraph 219a is “one conviction too many”. Buschmann explained that when a woman deals with the difficult question of a possible termination of pregnancy, she “usually” first looks for information on the Internet these days. There “every troll and every conspiracy theorist” can spread things on the subject – highly qualified doctors, however, are forbidden. “It’s absurd, it’s out of date, it’s unfair and that’s why we’re ending this situation.”

Federal Family Minister Lisa Paus spoke of a “triumph”. In this way, the self-determination of women in Germany is strengthened, said the Green politician. “Today is a good day for the doctors in Germany – and especially for the women in our country.” From now on, unintentionally pregnant women can rely on “expert advice and good support,” explained the minister.

Criticism from Union and AfD

Sharp criticism came from the Union faction: The traffic light coalition is primarily concerned with “producing a sense of achievement together” for reasons of “group dynamics,” said the chairwoman of the legal committee, Elisabeth Winkelmeier-Becker (CDU).

Everyone can understand the difficult situation of an unwanted pregnant woman. “But we also think about the child’s right to life – and that’s the main difference that I see between us,” said Winkelmeier-Becker, addressing the coalition factions. The deletion of 219a would enable “proactive advertising on the Internet,” warned the CDU politician. This suggests that an abortion “is about normal medical treatment,” which is not the case.

The AfD also considers the abolition to be wrong and emphasizes that women can already obtain detailed information about abortions and that the rights of unborn life should not be neglected.

Hänel follows the debate in the visitors’ gallery

In addition to the deletion, the Bundestag resolution provides for judgments against doctors that have been made on the basis of the paragraph since October 3, 1990 to be overturned. This applies to the Gießen general practitioner Kristina Hänel, who was convicted in 2017 on the basis of Section 219a and has been fighting for the abolition of the paragraph for years. She was sitting in the visitors’ gallery with other doctors in the Bundestag.

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