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'Abolish Paragraph 219a' addresses persistent taboo of abortion

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'Abolish Paragraph 219a' addresses persistent taboo of abortion by Tree Elven on 07/07/2021
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  • Amusing
  • Creative
  • Informative
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Highly charged emotionally, the issue of abortion is rarely reflected even in public health advertising. Abortion services are generally detached from broader issues like family planning, women’s health, or enforced sex work in the public perception, and are relegated to specialised environments when it comes to advertising - most of us would be hard put to it to remember a related ad. What do you think of this short footage? It's part of a broader drive to raise awareness of the fact that, under Germany's penal code, doctors can only state in their marketing materials that they perform pregnancy terminations - they are not allowed to give any information about the procedures even on their own websites. The woman in front of the camera in this ad is TV presenter Melissa Khalaj (The Voice Kids), making the point that it is an anomaly that an unqualified person like herself can provide information on abortion, but not the doctors who provide the services. German physician Kristina Hänel defends the right for doctors to provide, and women to have access to, such information: "I think it's important that everyone who has the opportunity informs and educates regarding abortions. Often, women who find themselves in this situation are in an emotionally fragile situation. For them, access to reliable information would make all the difference.” What do you think of the campaign? Essential calling-out of an anomaly? Unnecessary? A useful spotlight being shone on a persistently taboo topic? The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that between 2015 and 2019, 73.3 million abortions – safe and unsafe – were performed worldwide. Of those, almost 50% are estimated to be unsafe. Tens of thousands of women and girls die every year as a result of unsafe procedures, yet abortion remains a taboo topic. Although the #Abolish219a campaign is very specific, can this kind of awareness-raising in one of the world's most economically advanced nations help open up the conversation and save lives?

Keywords: Abolish 219a, Terre des Femmes, abortion taboo, pregnancy termination Germany, Streicht 219a, taboo topics, women's health, Kristina Hänel, Grey Germany

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