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Germany Edges Closer to Liberalising Abortion, Transgender Laws

Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann wants to present a bill to abolish the ban on advertising abortion as early as January.

The Free Democratic Party (FDP) politician made the announcement during an interview on Wednesday with the Funke media group, Süddeutsche Zeitung reports

Buschmann wants to see the end of what he calls as “absurd” regulation, saying in a tweet: “Today women often look for information online when they are grappling with the difficult question of abortion. It cannot be that doctors, of all people, are not allowed to provide factual information. I want to change that quickly.”

The regulation to which Buschmann refers is to a piece of legistation called section 219a in the Criminal Code that constitutes a “penal risk” for doctors performing legal abortions who provide factual information on the internet. An offense carries a fine or a prison sentence of up to two years.

The three parties (Social Democratic Party, Greens, and Free Democratic Party) that form new Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government have long opposed the current rules, but were prevented from taking action by the center-right Union bloc of ex-Chancellor Angela Merkel, which is now in opposition.

A compromise was reached in 2019, when Merkel’s government left the ban formally in place but allowed doctors and hospitals to say on their websites that they perform abortions. They were not allowed to give more detailed information, however.

It’s only one of several liberal social policies that the new leftist government plans on implementing, as indicated by Buschmann’s reference to a “huge reform backlog.” One other such reform on the agenda is the Transsexuellengesetz (transsexual law), which has remained unaltered for 40 years.

That law requires a psychological assessment and a court decision before a person can officially change his or her name and gender, a process that often involves intimate questions, and has been criticised as “humiliating.”

The coalition has pledged to replace that with a new so-called Selbstbestimmungsgesetz “(self-determination law), proposals for which had been rejected in the past, and which include the right for people (over the age of 14) to have their civil status changed by simple application to the registry office.

Tristan Vanheuckelom writes on film, literature, and comics for various Dutch publications. He is an avid student of history, political theory, and religion, and is a News Writer at The European Conservative.


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