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Convicted for 'advertising' abortion, German doctors are fighting to share the facts

June 7, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 18.5%. 1 min read.

Dr. Detlef Merchel didn't expect to end up in court for doing what he sees as part of his job: giving his patients information about the medical procedures he provides. But there he was, getting convicted for "advertising abortion" -- a crime in Germany.

"I can only say one sentence: 'I do termination of pregnancy if [the patient] follows the law,' but I mustn't say anything more," Merchel told CNN.

Another doctor who has also been convicted for having information on abortion on her website said she is concerned about patients not being able to find the facts they need they need to make an informed decision.

"The specialists -- the doctors -- had to remove their information, which means that now it's mostly just the anti-abortion sites that can be found on the internet," Dr. Kristina Haenel told CNN in an email.

Other advocates say the way Germany regulates information about abortion is unique among Western democracies.

She doesn't agree with the idea that an abortion is a medical procedure, saying that "abortion is no health service. "

Lindner says there is no shortage of information in Germany, pointing to the fact that state-approved providers of the mandatory pre-abortion counseling also provide details about the procedure.

After the law changed in 2019, he also added a line saying his practice provides abortions.

Still, about 100,000 women opt for an abortion in Germany each year.

The stigma around abortion, Merchel says, means that even many medical professionals still hesitate to discuss it.

Germany's Federal Constitutional Court is due to make a decision on Haenel's case soon, ruling on whether the ban on providing abortion information is compatible with the country's constitution.

by summa-bot

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