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And lead us not into temptation – How Germany chooses to protect Christian values over my free-will

Other | Monday 11th February 2019 | Saskia

If you are a doctor who operates, you are allowed to advertise that you are doing operations and also which treatments you are doing and how. If you had been a Gynaecologist in Germany a few days ago, you would not even have been allowed to advertise the fact that you are doing abortions. Let alone with which methods or how. The law has changed now. However, it is still closely connected to Christian anti-abortionist values. Too close for a state which is supposed to draw a line between state and religion, in my opinion.

The discussion concerning abortion started when Doctor Kristina Hänel shared the information that she was doing abortions on her website. As a reaction to that, she was penalised with a financial penalty of 6000 Euros. Hänel appealed the decision. 

 

The so called Paragraph 219 a was discussed controversially and publicly from then on. The Federal Government of Germany reacted by changing the law. From now on, Gynaecologists are allowed to say that they are doing abortions on their website. All the same, they are not allowed to give further information. Who is allowed to give further information on their websites however is basically everyone else.

Obviously, what the change of § 219 a still misses is to actually inform patients about their possibilities and to get patients in a position to not be misinformed by deceptive or wrong information. This is highly dangerous in my opinion. This course of action taken by the German state clearly makes huge allowances to Christian anti-abortionist values by "protecting" women from making the “wrong” decision, namely an abortion.

 

However, a wrong decision might also be to go through an operation.

Still, I am able to get all information about any other operation on my doctor`s website. Why is abortion an exception then? I will give you the strongest argument an anti-abortionist might have: There is another life included in your decision to have an abortion. If you are having any other operation, any outcome will only affect you. Yet, an abortion also includes an unborn life.

 

Admittedly, that is a strong argument. But I have a thought experiment for you which might change your mind. It has been made by the Philosopher Judith Jarvis Thompson and includes you and a violin-player. Imagine, a violin-player is on the verge of dying. But they can be saved. They just have to be connected to your body by special tubes for nine months. You will have some difficulties with leading your normal life of course. (as much as you would have by being pregnant) The catch here is that nobody asks you whether you want to help the violin-player. You are just connected to him against your will. (As you would be having an unplanned pregnancy) 

 

Do you have the obligation to stay connected to the violin-player for nine months? I guess your intuition would tell you, that it would be a good deed to stay connected, but in the end, you do not really have the obligation to stay connected. What makes you think you should have to foster an unborn child for nine months of your life then? Especially, if you were not planning to have a child. It is a good thing to do. But you do not have to.


Therefore, the change of paragraph 219 a seems completely absurd in my opinion. I am a free person. Why does the state have to protect me against a “wrong” decision in one medical regard (an abortion) but not in another (any other operation)? In my humble opinion, there is no reason. Being a free person means that I should be enabled to make a decision based on a broad background of information. Everything else would be choosing Christian values over my right to make a free, well-informed decision. 

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