Women who want to terminate an unwanted pregnancy in Bavaria sometimes find it difficult to find a doctor who will perform the procedure. The Greens in the state parliament have been pointing out this supply bottleneck for a long time. On Wednesday, they now presented proposals on how the grievance could be remedied. Their central demand: university clinics should be obliged to offer the procedure.
The Greens believe that the current situation is dramatic for women. Example Lower Bavaria: According to the Greens, there is only one doctor who performs abortions – and only every 14 days. Of the clinics there, Deggendorf is the only one that offers abortions, but only in the rare cases of a medical indication, such as late abortions of severely disabled children. The Regensburg University Hospital does not offer abortions because gynecology is outsourced there to the Brothers of Charity Hospital in Regensburg, a church building.
Also in Swabia and the Upper Palatinate there are no hospitals with a notice of readiness to perform abortions. The information comes from inquiries that the Greens have made to the state government, most recently in May 2023. The situation has not improved in recent years. On the contrary. It could come to a head when doctors retire. The average age of the doctors in private practice who carry out abortions and counseling is 57 years.
Katharina Schulze, the parliamentary group leader of the Greens, criticized that unintentionally pregnant people would be sent to run the gauntlet in the Free State. “There are hardly any practices or clinics that make demolitions, the distances are too far and waiting times are often far too long.”
A survey by the research network also shows that the paths to the nearest doctor are sometimes long, especially in Bavaria corrective under 200 women in Bavaria. In 30 percent of the cases, they had to drive more than 50 kilometers for the abortion. However, the state government apparently interprets the same data differently. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health said that a total of almost a hundred facilities were authorized to carry out abortions. This means that there is a sufficient range of inpatient and outpatient facilities in Bavaria.
The Greens question that. According to the paper, which the party says it has developed together with doctors, advice centers and health authorities from various Bavarian regions, there is a gap between the reported bodies and those who actually carry out abortions.
There should be two doctors per university clinic who can perform an abortion
The need must therefore be determined more precisely. First of all, the university hospitals should also be held accountable, since they receive state subsidies: they demand that at least two doctors who perform abortions should be employed per university hospital.
The university hospitals as the last pillar of medical care? The Ministry of Science, which is responsible for the universities, points out that medical care for the population is not the primary task of the university clinics, since they are also responsible for teaching and research. No doctor can be forced to perform an abortion. Abortion by doctors is forbidden in Germany. However, it remains unpunished if it is carried out within twelve weeks after conception and a recognized counseling center has been contacted.
In a second step, the Greens also want to have it checked to what extent municipal hospitals could also offer abortions more often. “Our initiative is not about how one stands ethically and morally on the subject of abortions,” says Schulze. Women have a right to free access to adequate and objective information. But the subject remains taboo. There is no overview of the necessary information about contact points for those affected. The Greens are therefore demanding more information above all: A central, secure portal on the Internet that shows which doctors and clinics are performing abortions and where. But also more education in the fight against false information and stigmatization, multilingual and in easy language.