Why are German Women denied access to Information?
In German law, under paragraph 219a, it is explicitly forbidden to advertise abortion as a gynaecologist or practising doctor. At a first glance, this might may seem pretty uncontroversial; since we associate the word ‘advertisement’ with the announcement of a new iPhone or an expensive pair of shoes, we might believe that the idea that gynaecologists put up colourful posters in their offices, offering the lowest price to get rid of a child, is not particularly pleasant.
It is forbidden to hand out information on abortion or even claim publicly that a practice is offering guidance or counselling on the subject of abortion, because this could influence the woman’s choice of keeping or removing the human being from her body.
Seemingly, women are unable to make the distinction between information and advertisement and, therefore, the government sees itself in the position to protect them by denying the access to information. How thoughtful.
The German state, it seems, sees women as little-minded individuals, easily influenced by simply a flyer or poster in the waiting room. Taking this example further, it is almost as if a pregnant woman would go for a regular check, see a poster or information on abortion and then decides to take one because she was too confused to make a rational decision.
Last year, a German doctor was fined 6000€ because she had an info button on her website which led to information on abortion. Handing out information on abortion can be punished with up to 2 years in prison or heavy fines.
How is it possible for a government to consider half of its population to be too simple to understand the difference between advertisement and information? How can we have laws that make even the information for options illegal for women that are in need of proper counselling?
Of course, the most troubling aspect of such an approach is that it leaves women, who are considering abortion for whatever reasons, in the dark without medical expertise or counselling.
Abortions, of course under strict rules and upon request, are legal in Germany and can be conducted at specific clinics or doctors. Why, then, is handing out information about it illegal? One gets the impression that the government believes that if handing out information on abortion or which doctors conduct such procedures, becomes legal, women would become more careless with unwanted pregnancies.
Because there’s the “easy” way out: an abortion. Or how the right wing party AfD put it: Women would be tempted by bonus cards, specific discounts and advertisement of ‘get three, pay two’, just like a haircut or ordering food. So doing what we’re best at: Shopping and being pretty.
But we cannot forget that an abortion is a medical procedure that brings physical as much as psychological risks and dangers with it, and no women would put that burden on herself if she didn’t think it is necessary and then she needs the medical expertise of a professional.
After all, an abortion is not a purchase that gets pushed onto women via advertisement and even a “bonus-card” wouldn’t convince a woman to give up her unborn child. It is a tough decision, faced by individuals in need who have to be taken seriously by their government. If the government allows abortions, it cannot deny the right to information of patients in need.
But granting reliable information on the advantages and disadvantages of an abortion and a professional consulting might save many more lives than the denial of information.
Being pro information about an abortion is not equal to supporting the cause of abortion. One does not necessarily have to believe in abortions for granting others the choice to consider, or to be informed about it. Individual freedom is considered one of the highest value and is even protected under law, so why not granting others the freedom to inform themselves, especially when they’re in a tough situation?
It is time that the government believes in the ability of women to be informed and to make their own choices. They are not driven by shopping desires or sales but by rationality and sometimes even by disparity, when the least the government can do is grant the right to information. It is a legal disaster and chaos which hinders doctors and patients to find the best possible solution. With a cancellation of the paragraph, there would be more room to get informed properly and only then there is a chance for women to form a reasonable decision which they are very much capable of!
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