vThere is a lot of discussion about women who terminate pregnancies. Now, affected women and doctors were interviewed directly as part of the study, and some of the results were published this week. For three and a half years, six universities conducted a research project entitled “Experiences and life situations of unintended pregnant women – advice and care”. All results, including recommendations for action, will be presented in the fall. In addition to the Freiburg Social Science Research Institute for Gender Issues, the Free University of Berlin, the University of Ulm and the Universities of Fulda, Merseburg and Nordhausen are also involved in the project.

Former Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) originally commissioned the study to investigate the psychological consequences of abortion. However, abortion has not been empirically proven to cause psychological problems. Instead, on the one hand, victims are burdened by psychological problems and family conditions that existed before the pregnancy.

However, the situation of unintended pregnancies is complicated by institutional problems: 80 percent of the women interviewed report difficulties in obtaining information and offering help. In 85 out of 400 German districts, adequate spatial accessibility of assistance services is not ensured. Especially in the southern and western parts of the country, women have to drive for more than 40 minutes. Women without a car have even longer travel times.

Every fifth woman finds it difficult to pay for an abortion

According to the study, every fifth woman also finds it difficult to pay the costs of an abortion. Another problem is that doctors rarely list their abortion services on their website, even though the ban on advertising has now been lifted. When women search for information about abortion, they usually find newspaper articles. Almost 60 percent of those surveyed found it difficult to get information about abortion. To solve this problem, doctors and counseling centers have suggested an app and a poster campaign.

Vulnerable groups, such as women who experience violence in relationships or suffer from psychological problems, also have specific needs that are not met. People who are unwittingly pregnant and taking medication due to psychological problems need to seek help especially quickly.

Most doctors call for the decriminalization of abortion

According to information, the fact that abortions are illegal affects the supply situation of affected persons. If the abortion takes place within the first three months and the victims are counselled, it is exempt from punishment. More than 75 percent of the doctors polled call for the decriminalization of abortion. Again, 43 percent of gynecologists who do not perform abortions could imagine doing so if the barriers were removed.

Doctors are harassed, threatened, reported and attacked when they perform abortions. 65 percent of them have already experienced this stigma. Additionally, not all doctors learn this procedure during training. 88 percent of the doctors surveyed require this procedure to be included in their continuing education. 98 percent are in favor of establishing binding treatment guidelines.