I had an abortion

I had an abortion

“We had an abortion”

This public confession was made in 1971 by 374 women*, some of them pictured on the title page of the Stern magazine, in protest against §218, which defines abortions as a criminal offense.

The context today is different. Abortions are still illegal, but the so-called “compromise solution” makes it possible to interrupt an unwanted pregnancy while restricting access to abortions at the same time. A person who chooses to have an abortion can only do so after a compulsory counseling talk (which should be “open-ended” but also aims “to protect the unborn life”) and must undergo a 72-hour waiting period in order to terminate the pregnancy in impunity. However, access to abortions is restricted by the shrinking amount of doctors who carry out abortions, partly because abortions are not part of the medical curriculum. And those who offer this service may not inform about it, because they would violate §219a of the Pregnancy Conflict Act, which prohibits doctors to “advertise” for abortions.

The condemnation of the doctor Kristina Hänel, because she announced on her website that she offers abortions among other services, has renewed public attention for the topic of “abortion” and the extent of the restriction of reproductive rights and self-determination in Germany. This limitation is also compounded by the growing influence of right-wing and Christian fundamentalist movements, who systematically harass and file legal complaints against the physicians who perform abortions, or besiege counseling centers such as ProFamilia as an intimidation tactic. This short film was created in this context.

The Kinokas collective has interviewed people about their abortions. The result is reports of experience that stand alone, and that, in relation to the other stories, show the differences, similarities and variety of experiences. Together, these stories also provide information on how reproductive justice is experienced in Germany and how the institutional framework affects individuals. “I had an abortion” Four women break the taboo in this video and talk about their experiences and at the same time lead us through the chronology of an abortion. This documentary work is part of a larger documentary film project that explores the state of reproductive justice in Germany with an intersectional and queer feminist approach but also aims to counteract the network dominance and misinformation of Christian fundamentalist networks by publishing such field reports.