There are plenty of reasons why you may be thinking about terminating your pregnancy. Maybe you got pregnant by accident and you don't see any way for you to carry the pregnancy to term. It is also possible that during a prenatal examination your doctor has determined that the pregnancy poses a risk to your life or health, or that the fetus has serious health problems. Such situations mean there is medical indication for pregnancy termination. A third possible reason is that the pregnancy resulted from rape. In Germany, this is known as a criminological indication for termination. There are many different reasons why you may decide to take this step. If you have decided to terminate, it is important to follow certain rules and deadlines. Quick advice and help in the event of rape is offered by the Violence against Women help hotline at 08000116016. Counseling can take place around the clock and is possible with the help of interpreters in German or one of 18 other languages.
Even though you may not have wanted it to happen, it is still possible for you to get pregnant. You may be sure very quickly that you don't want to carry the pregnancy to term. But you may also feel like many other people who have had an unplanned pregnancy. You are shocked at first and wonder what to do. Below you will learn when, how and where abortion is possible in this case. It is good to know that you are entitled to a free consultation in any case, anonymously if you wish. If you are the man who fathered the child, you too can get free counseling in this situation. The consultation can take place alone or together with your partner.
If you have become pregnant unintentionally and decide to terminate the pregnancy, what is known in Germany as ‘counseling regulations’ apply. This means that the abortion is legal if the pregnancy is terminated within twelve weeks of conception by a doctor and you can provide a certificate that you have undergone pregnancy conflict counseling in accordance with § 219 StGb. This corresponds to the 14th week of pregnancy if you calculate from the first day of your last menstrual period. In addition, there must be at least a three-day ‘cooling-off’ period between the consultation and the procedure. If there is a medical or criminological indication for an abortion, it is not so restricted. Unlike the counseling provision, abortion with a medical or criminological indication is still possible without penalty after the twelfth week. The indication must be made by a physician and confirmed in writing. The procedure must then be performed by another physician.
Pregnancy conflict counseling can be a real help, even if it is mandatory. Such a conversation offers the opportunity to openly address all concerns and problems without pressure. It is true that the legal task of pregnancy conflict counseling is to encourage people to continue their pregnancy. Nevertheless, all consultants are obliged to conduct the discussions in such a way that the outcome is open. That means that they support you in making a decision that is right for you and that you can live with well in the long run. The counsellors have a lot of experience. They can also provide insight to things you may not have known or thought of before. For some people, a confidential birth, for others, releasing the child for adoption or finding a foster family is the right decision. If you want, you can also get information about support services for pregnant people and mothers at the counseling centre. The counsellors are subject to the duty of confidentiality. That means they can't just pass on what you tell them.
There are both doctor's offices and clinics where you can have an abortion. The Federal Centre for Health Education has the legal mandate to publish a list of these physicians, hospitals and facilities. At www.familienplanung.de, you can search the Internet for addresses in your area using postal codes. The German Medical Association collects this data and updates the list monthly. However, physicians are free to decide whether or not to have their practice or clinic included in the list. Therefore, it is not complete.
Two options are available for abortion under the counseling provision. Pregnancy can be terminated with medication. This is possible until the 63rd day after the start of the last menstrual period. This kind of abortion takes several days. The other option is known as a surgical abortion. It can be performed under general or local anaesthesia. There are two different methods: suction and curettage. The procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis in clinics or appropriately equipped medical practices.
Pregnant people who have an abortion under the counseling regulation usually have to pay for the procedure themselves. However, some health insurance companies will cover the cost for low-income patients. For an outpatient abortion, you can expect costs between €350 and €700. Medical abortion costs less because no anesthesia is needed. If the abortion is performed for medical reasons or due to rape, then health insurance companies usually cover the costs.