German doctors fined over abortion ads

German doctors fined over abortion ads

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Doctors Bettina Gaber (L) and Verena Weyer say they are defending women's rights

A German court has fined two gynaecologists €2,000 (£1,780) each for advertising how they carry out abortions in their Berlin clinic.

Earlier this year the German government lifted a Nazi-era blanket ban on ads for abortion services.

But the revised law only allows doctors to state that they conduct abortions, the Berlin court ruled.

The two female doctors had also described "medicinal, anaesthesia-free" abortions in a "protected environment".

Bettina Gaber and Verena Weyer plan to appeal against the fines.

Two anti-abortion campaigners had reported the gynaecologists' website ad to prosecutors.

In January, after months of debate, the Christian Democrat-led coalition government amended an article of law, dating back to 1933, which banned abortion ads in order to make pregnancy terminations different from other medical procedures.

The change was intended to improve women's rights, by informing them about abortion services.

But the reform did not go so far as to allow descriptions of the abortion services offered.

Read more on abortion controversies:

  • What's going on with US abortion rights?
  • Anger in Poland over abortion limits bill
  • Landslide vote overturns Irish abortion ban

In Norway, MPs voted on Thursday to restrict abortions during multi-foetal pregnancies – a move described by Norwegian media as "historic". It followed many hours of heated debate and was seen as a government concession to the conservative Christian Democrats (KrF).

In future, if a Norwegian mother wants to abort one or more of her foetuses, it will be up to a medical panel to decide if the procedure can go ahead.

Norway will continue to apply a 1978 law providing for abortion on request in the first 12 weeks.

Germany maintains strict regulations for abortions, AFP news agency reports, and the rate of terminations is about half that of neighbouring France.

The German fine came as new official figures in the UK showed a record number of abortions – 200,608 – were carried out in England and Wales last year.

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Media captionBronwen and Jess have had abortions, 40 years apart

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