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Bundestag on abortion: heated debate on paragraph 219a

Status: 05/13/2022 4:33 p.m

The coalition agreement of the Ampel government envisages removing the advertising ban for abortions from the penal code. In a first debate in the Bundestag, the opposition voiced some heavy criticism.

By Angela Tesch, ARD Capital Studio

To remove the advertising ban for abortions is a legislative project from the coalition agreement. Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann (FDP) wants women to be as informed as possible before they decide – including about the details of the procedure and the costs of an abortion. “Who could do that better than qualified doctors,” says Buschmann. But they break the law when they make it public on their websites. Some have been convicted.

Bushman: Ban is “absurd”

On the Internet, “every conspiracy theorist and every fake news slinger is allowed to spread any nonsense about abortions”. But qualified doctors “as guardians of science and facts” are forbidden from providing factual information. That was absurd, Buschmann emphasized in his speech.

This is an anachronism, an injustice and it is the consequence of 219a. And that’s why we’re getting rid of him.

Abortions as “normal curative treatment”

In his speech, the Federal Minister of Justice rejected the accusation that the decision to overturn the advertising ban was, as he says, “undermining the concept of protecting life in paragraph 218”. That is exactly what the members of the Union factions fear.

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She stands by the right of women to have an abortion, says Nina Warken (CDU). But no additional advertising is needed for this. This creates the impression that an abortion is a normal medical treatment. The planned deletion of the 219a would enable “in contrast to what they claim today, much more advertising in social media, advertisements and posters”. And it is aimed – not luridly, but actively – at the target group. You can see that in countries without an advertising ban, says Warken. “The clinics advertise where the demolition is cheapest and fastest and where the atmosphere is friendliest.”

According to the Union faction, this is incompatible with the constitutional protection of unborn life. The Union and AfD factions reject the deletion of paragraph 219a.

Paragraphs 218 and 219

Abortion is regulated in the Criminal Code paragraph 218 regulated. The paragraphs 219 and 219 regulate counseling on abortion and the ban on “advertising for abortion”.

Linke has submitted its own application

The parliamentary group of the Left goes one step further and has tabled its own motion. Heidi Reichinnek campaigned for the decriminalization of abortions – especially if they were carried out at the request of the pregnant woman. “The EU Parliament and the WHO are also demanding exactly that. That’s why paragraph 218 must finally go.”

Federal Family Minister Lisa Paus from the Greens was open to this in the debate. A commission is to be set up in the near future. The motions to abolish 219a would continue to be discussed in the responsible committees of the Bundestag.

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