Germany one step closer to scrapping Nazi-era abortion law

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An ultrasound machine sits next to an exam table in an examination room at a women's health clinic. (Scott Olson, Getty Images, AFP)
An ultrasound machine sits next to an exam table in an examination room at a women's health clinic. (Scott Olson, Getty Images, AFP)

Germany's justice ministry presented a draft law on Monday that would do away with a Nazi-era law forbidding doctors to provide information about abortions.

Doctors in Germany are allowed to say they offer termination of pregnancies but are not allowed to provide any further information on such procedures.

Critics have said the law makes it too difficult for women to access information about which procedures are available and who provides them.

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Justice Minister Marco Buschmann said getting rid of the law, introduced in 1933, would make it easier for women looking for more information online to consult qualified sources.

"Doctors should be also be able to inform the public about abortion without running the risk of criminal prosecution," he added.

The new government laid out its plans to eliminate the law in the coalition agreement signed in November.

Technically, abortion is illegal altogether in Germany. However, it is allowed under certain circumstances and the procedure must be performed within 12 weeks of conception.

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