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People take part in a march marking International Women's Day in Berlin, Germany, March 8, 2019.
Image: Reuters/H. Hanschke

German doctors convicted over abortion law

June 14, 2019

The doctors were found to have broken a regulation that forbids describing how an abortion is performed. Campaigners have argued that lack of access to information is a health and rights issue.


Two Berlin gynecologists were fined €2,000 euros ($2,250) on Friday for violating Germany's controversial Paragraph 219a law, which forbids doctors from "advertising" that they perform abortions. The doctors had been facing penalties of up to €7,500 euros.

Despite a recent reform of the law that gave doctors the right to state on their websites that they offer the service, the law still forbids them from describing how they perform the procedure. "The situation is simple," said presiding Judge Christine Mathiak.

Mathiak said, however, that she believed the infractions committed by the doctors, identified only as Verena W. and Bettina G., were "very, very small."

The pair, aged 55 and 52, said they would appeal the verdict, if necessary all the way up to the Federal Constitutional Court.

More than a hundred protestors gathered on the courthouse steps to demand the gynecologists be acquitted.

Paragraph 219a was loosened in February after months of debate. Campaigners say the restrictions are still too tight. They argue that women are still dissuaded from seeking abortions and that the lack of available information presents a health risk.

es/amp (AFP, dpa)

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