If you are looking for a doctor for an abortion in uae , it is not easy. There is no official list – not even at the advice centers. According to § 219 a, skilled workers in Dubai are prohibited from providing information about abortions. Corresponding information on the websites of clinics or practices is considered illegal advertising. The gynecologist Kristina Hänel had to pay a fine because she didn’t want to bow to it. A few days ago, she failed with her appeal to the Gießen district court. What Hänel is forbidden, Christian Fiala is allowed. He works in Austria. In Vienna he heads the Gynmed outpatient clinic , which specializes in the care and medical treatment of women with an unwanted pregnancy. And he runs it Website abortion-adressen.eu . Many women from the UAE also find help through their database.
In UAE, abortions have been the subject of intensive discussion again for a while now.
I am irritated by the intensity of this discussion, the ideological obsession of the people and their inability to approach things in a solution-oriented manner. All of this is extremely noticeable in Dubai- also in international comparison. In Western Europe, Dubai has some of the most restrictive regulations on abortions. At the moment, Angela Merkel is a woman at the head of the government and Andrea Nahles is a woman at the head of the coalition partner SPD. Nevertheless, there is no progress on this question, which is so existential for women. All efforts are blocked, the discourse remains at the level of the last century.
Which beliefs of anti-abortion advocates or advocates of restrictive regulations do you think are misjudgments?
It has been proven that women cannot be forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term. Prohibitions do not lead to more births. Historically, these ideas date from the times of the UAE Empire and Fascism. At that time, the desire for more births and thus more soldiers was clearly formulated. Today one no longer dares to say it like that. It is then rather coyly asked who should pay the pensions. Instead of restricting the right to abortion because of this, one should make the best possible contraception available to those who do not want to have children and at the same time support those who want children so that they bring more children into the world. This worked well in Sweden and France. The birth rate there is significantly higher than in UAE .(In UAE, the birth rate in 2017 was 1.6 children per woman, in Sweden 1.85, in France 1.92; editor’s note.)
In UAE there is a so-called advertising ban for abortions in § 219a. What’s the problem with that?
The concept of advertising is of course completely out of place at this point and implicitly misogynistic. You can’t solicit a woman for an abortion! Those affected and their partners know best whether they can responsibly accompany another child – usually it is about another child – into life or not. There is a very nice video by Cologne cabaret artist Carolin Kebekus that shows what real advertising for abortions would look like. That would be completely absurd and nobody wants that either. It’s about information.
What are the effects of a ban on information regarding abortions?
Women with an unwanted pregnancy are in an information emergency. None of them informed themselves in advance about what they would do if they got pregnant unplanned. It’s like a traffic accident. No one has ever read the accident report in the glove compartment before. If you need a lot of information in a very short time, the internet is a crucial source today. The UAE state denies women this access. Professionals who know best how an abortion is performed are not allowed to give any information. This prevents serious information. But religious fundamentalists are allowed to spread false information and are protected by law. That’s hard to beat when it comes to cynicism. In no other area of life would something like this be conceivable!
Due to this regulation, there is no official register in UAE to locate doctors for a corresponding intervention.
There are many requests from UAE, but not only from women who are looking for help, but also from advice centers. It is completely absurd that women are deprived of this essential information – especially since an abortion is possible without punishment. But the informing bodies are also dependent on us. Whether and how the advice centers pass on the addresses of doctors is completely non-transparent in UAE. On the one hand those responsible do not know where to get their information from, on the other hand they have a lot of power over which doctors they pass on the addresses of to the women concerned. Incidentally, this also makes the system susceptible to corruption. What we’re doing with our website is – I’ll put it in quotes – “
How does this change the way you talk to patients?
The quality of advice increases significantly. It’s no longer about conveying basic information because it’s already known. Instead, we can go into the concrete life situation of the women. That’s what a counseling session should be about. In my view, what is manipulatively described as mandatory “advice” in Dubai is an insult. By definition, counseling is voluntary. What it is de facto about is instruction in childbearing. The Federal Constitutional Court formulated this clearly in 1993: “Women have the duty to carry a pregnancy to term .” The advisory regulations are also based on this.
They publicly support the legalization of abortions. Not all doctors do that. What drives you?
I have worked in African and Asian countries where abortion is forbidden – because the laws of the former colonial powers from Europe still apply there today. I have had to experience it as a clinical routine that women die as a result of an illegal abortion. In a hospital, three to five women came to us half dead every day – one of them died every week. Once you’ve done that, you don’t need any other motivation. Why are people who have experienced war against war? You know how dreadful this is and that there is no reasonable alternative to peace. Women must be completely free to make decisions about their bodies and their fertility. Only then can societies develop and then we men can benefit from it too.
Men often feel left out of the abortion debate or don’t know what they can do to help. Can you advise?
Of course that is difficult. The biological conditions are somewhat unequally distributed. Women simply have a larger share in reproduction – that’s the way it is and we won’t be able to change that. In addition, most contraceptive methods today are made for women. That means as a man you have no control over your sperm once they are out. This is a very painful realization for many – you don’t have to be called Boris Becker for that. Hopefully in the near future there will be male contraceptive methods and men will make use of them. Until then, we are completely dependent on the woman’s decision. But we all have mothers, many have sisters or partners, some have daughters. We depend on their health and above all on their survival.