The coronavirus pandemic in particular has made the use of telemedicine more socially acceptable. Some people could not leave their homes or were considered highly infectious and were therefore not allowed to enter practices. Accordingly, doctors could communicate with them via telemedicine and discuss further treatment.
Pregnant women who wanted to have an abortion during this time were also cared for in this way, but this does not appear to be legally certain to politicians for equality. You would therefore like to try to find a precise regulation, as the dpa reports.
Do not leave legal uncertainty to pregnant women
There are already offers from doctors, for example in Berlin, where women receive medication for abortion after the online consultation – no matter where they live in Germany. State Secretary Ute Leidig (Greens) from Baden-Württemberg is therefore defending an application from the initiative, which comes from her state: “There are currently abortions accompanied by telemedicine. However, many legal regulations date from a time when this possibility of a medical abortion was still available didn’t exist.” That now has to be adjusted. “We must not leave the women alone – and we certainly must not leave them in legal uncertainty.”
In principle, doctors can use video consultation hours for all people and diseases without any problems. Even exclusive advice or treatment via the Internet is permitted under certain circumstances in individual cases. “There are also no regulations for abortions that would restrict the use of video consultations,” explains the Ministry of Social Affairs in Stuttgart.
Strict rules on cancellations
Nevertheless, abortion is strictly regulated in Germany. For example, pregnant women must seek advice from a state-recognized body before having an abortion. In addition, it is regulated by law that pharmacies may only send medicines for an abortion to a facility where the women can also be treated afterwards. However, it has not been clarified what “necessary follow-up treatment” includes in the event of a medical termination.
In addition, it has not been clarified what practices would have to do to make it clear that they are a facility with the option of aftercare. And the medicines should also be sent securely by post so that unauthorized persons cannot get hold of the medicines.
Open discussion in a heated climate
Ministers for equality want to discuss these problems with the federal government. They decided on Thursday evening during a conference in Hamburg. The discussion process is open, the result is not yet foreseeable. However, the discussion follows a rather heated international debate about abortion, since abortion is now banned in some states in the USA, for example, following a decision by the Supreme Court. Almost at the same time, the federal government of Germany decided to abolish paragraph 219a, the so-called advertising ban for abortions, which was particularly abused by opponents of abortion.
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