When is an abortion “illegal”?
According to Section 218 of the Criminal Code, a woman who has had an abortion has broken a law and “is punished with imprisonment for up to three years or a fine.” But: There are exceptions, recorded in Section 218a .
When does an abortion go unpunished?
The top priority is that the decision for or against an abortion ultimately rests with the pregnant woman. In addition, certain requirements must be met in order for an abortion to be carried out. In order to be able to have an abortion, pregnant women must prove that they have participated in pregnancy conflict counseling, that there is a medical indication: the pregnancy poses a risk to the body or represents the mental health of the expectant mother or that there is a criminological indication, i.e. the pregnancy was caused by rape.
How does a “pregnancy conflict counseling” work?
The pregnant woman must go to a counseling center for an interview. In it, she has to confirm her will to terminate the pregnancy to various arguments (and to herself).
Important: The termination must not be carried out by the doctor who carried out the conflict counseling.
In addition to municipalities, the German Red Cross and Pro Familia also offer conflict counseling. In the case of a voluntary abortion, there must be at least three days between the consultation and the abortion.
Why are doctors not allowed to inform and also perform the abortion?
Finding a doctor to have an abortion is often difficult. Section 219a of the Criminal Code prohibits medical professionals from publicly offering “services to perform or promote” an abortion. To this day it is forbidden in Germany to terminate a pregnancy. An abortion will only remain unpunished if the woman has previously visited a counseling center and presents her doctor with a counseling certificate.
The district court of Giessen sentenced a doctor for informing about abortions on her website.
Can the woman decide to cancel alone?
It is clear that the decision for or against an abortion ultimately rests with the woman. Nevertheless, the child’s father should not be left out of the decision. Therefore, there are also free pregnancy conflict counseling for men, in which they can take part with or without their pregnant women.
Until when can an abortion be performed?
As a rule, an abortion can be performed in Germany up to the 14th week of pregnancy. If there is a medical indication, the period is extended to the 22nd week of pregnancy.
Are the costs of an abortion covered by health insurance?
If there is a medical or criminological indication, the statutory health insurance companies automatically cover the costs. If a pregnant woman has an abortion at her own request (for no medical reason), she must bear the costs of 250 to 600 euros herself. In many cases, she can at least claim the costs for medical treatment during pregnancy and for follow-up treatment (e.g. as a result of complications) from the health insurance company with which she is insured. The reimbursement of costs is regulated by the health insurance company with the respective federal state.
Special case: If the woman is socially needy, she is entitled – regardless of the indication – to have the costs of the termination of pregnancy covered by the health insurance fund. To do this, she must submit an application, as the Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) writes.
“From July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019, women are considered to be in need whose disposable personal income does not exceed 1,179 euros per month and who do not have any personal assets that can be used in the short term.” For details, see the message from the BMFSFJ.
What are the abortion methods?
There are two surgical options for terminating a pregnancy in a targeted manner:
★ suction and scraping. A surgical termination of pregnancy is usually carried out under general anesthesia and in a hospital with inpatient admission. Some clinics and medical practices also offer an outpatient abortion under local anesthesia. After an abortion by surgery, the doctor uses ultrasound to check whether the abortion was successful.
★ Suction: As a rule, an abortion is carried out with the help of suction (vacuum aspiration). The suction takes place under anesthesia. The doctor sucks off the lining of the uterus, the amniotic sac and the embryo through a small tube that he inserts through the vagina into the uterus.
★ Scraping: An abortion is also possible by scraping (also called curettage or abrasion). Under anesthesia, the lining of the uterus, amniotic sac and embryo are scraped off with a spoon-like instrument. Scraping is less often used for an abortion, but rather serves to remove tissue that has remained after a miscarriage. In this way complications can be avoided. An alternative to the surgical abortion is the so-called abortion pill .
★ With the help of the active ingredient mifepristone, contractions are induced with medication and thus a miscarriage is provoked. The abortion pill usually starts working after two to three days. The abortion pill may only be used under medical supervision. An abortion in this form is only possible up to the ninth week of pregnancy.
What is an Online Abortion?
An abortion using medication without a doctor’s visit. You can find such offers on many different sites on the Internet. They are aimed primarily at women in countries where abortion is completely prohibited. And although from a purely medical point of view, after the ninth week there should be no more drug abortions, it only means that in this case the pills should be taken as a precaution in the waiting room of a hospital.
Don’t forget about contraception
With the termination, a new menstrual cycle begins, with which there is also the possibility of a new pregnancy. You can discuss with your doctor which contraception method is best for you in the meeting cell.