Medical Students for Choice

  Four women hold a banner Copyright: © Fachschaft Medizin

You just have to know how to help yourself: In the so-called “Papaya Workshops” offered by the Medical Students for Choice roject of the RWTH Medical Faculty, students are taught about the procedure for an abortion. “The papaya resembles the female uterus in some ways,” explains Cecilia Rees. “In the courses, we’re able to give a good representation of how the procedure could be done surgically – regular teaching hasn’t included that so far.” The RWTH medicine student from Luxembourg has often wondered why she doesn’t get to learn about this topic in her training. “In Germany, the legal situation is somewhat confusing,” says Cecilia. “Abortions are generally prohibited under Section 218 of the German Criminal Code and only exempt from punishment under special circumstances. There are also fewer and fewer doctors performing the procedure. In Aachen, just two medical practices are offering surgical abortion now.” Nevertheless, more than 100,000 such procedures – which are not covered by health insurance – are performed in Germany every year – most of them on an outpatient basis.

On the one hand, the Medical Students for Choice team aims to use their events and discussion groups to inform students about reproductive health issues and remove the stigma surrounding them. On the other, they also want to help prepare students to be able to perform abortions later in their careers. “We believe that the procedure should be part of primary health care,” explains Cecilia. “That’s why we’re happy students can take the Papaya Workshop as an official RWTH course – including credit points.”

This evening, you have a chance to meet the team at the rally to mark today’s “International Safe Abortion Day,” starting at 6 pm at Aachen’s Elisenbrunnen.