Two Berlin gynaecologists were found guilty of “advertising’’ abortion and fined on Friday under a controversial law that prohibits doctors from publicising that they perform the procedure.
A court in the capital fined the two doctors 2,250 dollars each for stating on their website that a “drug-free, anaesthetic-free abortion’’ is among the practice’s services.
Paragraph 219a of the German legal code makes it a crime for doctors to publicly “advertise’’ for financial gain the fact that they terminate pregnancies.
Abortions remain technically illegal in Germany, however, they are generally permitted up to 12 weeks with a doctor’s consultation.
Some 100,000 terminations were carried out in 2018, according to official statistics
The judge said the two doctors had broken the law but did not believe it was “very worthy of punishment.’’
The two doctors said that they would appeal immediately after the verdict.
“We have now started the fight and we want to continue it,’’ said 56-year-old Bettina Gaber, one of the doctors.
She added that it was unacceptable that “women have to inform themselves inconveniently.’’
The law was reformed earlier this year, allowing doctors to state on their websites that they carry out terminations, but not to state what kind of procedures they offer.
The limitations of the reform have been criticised by doctors, affected women and parts of Germany’s political opposition, who argued that women need free access to information.