"My body, my choice."

Jan Auswitz, Cindy Stern, Lilith Bechinger and Rebecca Lehmann (from left) are MHB medical students and members of the student initiative for gender equality "Theodora stellt gleich"

Neuruppin, 9 March 2021

“Theodora stellt gleich” is the name of an MHB student initiative for gender equality, a wordplay around Theodor Fontane as the name giver of the Brandenburg Medical School. On this year’s International Women’s Day on 8 March, members joined an event organised by several initiatives on a central market square in Brandenburg an der Havel. Passers-by were invited to become proactive and support women’s rights. Info material was available on issues like abortion, intersectional feminism, femicide, and outreach work in Brandenburg. There were speeches and opportunity for conversation. Proceeds from the sale of self-printed T-shirts went to “women in exile”.

MHB medical student Rebecca Lehmann from the student initiative was one of the speakers in support of women’s rights and amendment of current laws on abortion: “It has always been part of patriarchal structures where men enjoy privileged positions and decide on most social issues, to deny women the right to decide on their own bodies. We demand to make pertinent information available to all women anywhere and anytime. As future physicians we promise to accompany and advise our patients to the best of our knowledge so that they can make informed decisions on issues that concern them. The decision whether to have a baby or not is definitely one of these issues.” Rebecca Lehmann criticises the criminalising impact which the current versions of §218 and §219a have on the freedom of information for doctors and for pregnant women.

My body, my choice
“If a person has reached the decision to end her pregnancy she is going to follow through. Always. According to Amnesty International, there is no difference in abortion figures between countries where abortion is legal and those which forbid abortions. The difference is only in the risk for a woman to die from the consequences of an intervention,” so Rebecca Lehmann. About 22,000 women die after unsafe abortions every year, 7 million suffer injuries or permanent damage as a result of, for example, wire hangers inserted into the uterus, drinking bleach, or kicks in the stomach.

“We are here today to offer information and fight the state of things. The decision for or against a child depends on many different factors. It is of utmost importance and highly personal and has implications for the rest of a woman’s life. Therefore our request, for ourselves, for all women in Brandenburg and everywhere in the world: my body, my choice.

Throughout the day we had a mix of people visiting our stall: schoolgirls, men and women of advanced age, young families and also a number of women with personal experience of abortion. One thing has become clear after a generally successfully day with touching and rewarding encounters: much remains to be done.”