§218 + §219a wegstreiken - Keep your politics out of my uterus / by Edna Bonhomme

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Today, on a mild grey, 100 pro-choice activists in Berlin gathered outside of the Ministry of Health to oppose article 218 and 219a, through a strike action. The core demand is that they want free and full legalisation of abortion, worldwide. What drives this demand is their collective disdain for Paragraph 218 of the German constitution which defines abortion as murder while article 219a makes it illegal for doctors to advertise, advise, or inform patients about abortions. If physicians violate article 219a, they can face penalties and potential jail time, which was the case for Dr. Kristina Hänel, who was fined under paragraph 219a.

During the day of action on 7 March, protestors chanted and stood on the streets with metal hangers, loud speakers, and colourful wigs. As the rain poured upon everyone, people maintained their resilience and shouted, “Keep your politics out of my uterus.” Moreover, organisers used this event as a teaching moment to do a quiz on German sexual and reproductive health. One shocking fact is that there are only 1500 abortion providers in Germany.

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German feminists have been fighting for the decriminalisation of abortion for decades and they have rightly noted that the anti-abortion laws is especially oppressive towards poor and migrant women. Pro-choice activists not only want the immediate abolition of articles 218 and 219a but they also want the public health department to provide free contraceptives upon demand.