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CRIME

Catholic hospitals refused rape victim help

Two Catholic hospitals in Cologne refused to examine a woman who said she had been raped to avoid having to offer her advice on abortion or the morning-after pill.

Catholic hospitals refused rape victim help
The heads of gynaecology at the two hospitals. Photo: DPA

The German doctors’ association has sharply criticized the hospitals – St Vinzenz-Krankenhaus and Heilig-Geist-Krankenhaus, while an investigation is being conducted to see if they broke the law.

The 25-year-old woman was seemingly drugged with knock-out drugs in her drink at a party in Cologne in December, and then raped. She woke up on a bank in the Kalk district of the city the morning afterwards, the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper reported.

An emergency doctor who treated her sent her to a hospital for examination and for the collection of potential evidence. But she was turned away from the one Catholic hospital after another. They had both adopted policies banning doctors from conducing such procedures – because it would entail offering advice about abortion.

Doctors who ignored this rule could expect to be sacked, the Frankfurter Rundschau said.

They even refused to help when the emergency doctor assured them she had already given the woman the necessary advice, and had already prescribed her the morning-after pill to prevent a pregnancy.

A spokesman for the Cologne archbishopric told the paper that Catholic hospitals had a general policy of not offering even emergency contraception. But he said he could not understand why the hospitals concerned had also refused to take the possible evidence from the woman.

On Friday, the Marburger Bund doctors’ association (MB) sharply criticized the hospitals, and said they should have at least offered her some counselling. Potential legal steps against the doctors involved were also being checked, the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported.

Rudolf Henke, chairman of the MB, said he had never heard of such a thing, and that he assumed there was at best a serious lack of communication between the hospital managers and the doctors.

“One owed this young woman at least the counselling – and all the counselling,” Henke told broadcaster ARD’s Morgenmagazin show.

The Catholic foundation which operates the hospitals, the Cellitinnen zur heiligen Maria has apologized to the woman, and said the rules had not been understood by some staff.

The North Rhine-Westphalia state Health Ministry has started an investigation to work out whether the hospitals had broken the law.

The Local/hc

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GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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