April 2017 saw the publication of a research paper on this: Psychosocial Stress, Course of Pregnancy and Pregnancy Outcomes in the Context of the Provision of Sexual Services (by Elisabeth Simoes, Johannes Gostomzyk, Sara Yvonne Brucker, and Joachim Graf)
For those who don’t know it yet: There is a special market for pregnant women, and late-term pregnant women in prostitution in Germany.
Not only do the factors pushing and above all pulling a woman into prostitution continue to do so while she is pregnant, there is additionally a group of buyers who seek out women in late pregnancy. They want to feel the foetus/ baby move.
The new German law (Prostitute Protection Act) has made it illegal for a woman to be in prostitution in the last six weeks prior to giving birth. She will not be issued a „registration certificate“ during this period in her life. That’s it. End of protection. (N.B.: Concern for the unborn child, not for the woman.)
Dr. Wolf Heide, a gynecologist working at an advocacy centre and who provides health care to women in prostitution, highlighted the situation of pregnant women in his testimony at a hearing in our Bundestag prior to the passing of our new law. We second him in his statement that nobody should require research or medical studies to understand that being in prostitution during a pregnancy is a terrible situation.
And yet: As a doctor he had to write several letters and health statements to see a pregnant woman (22nd week and following) through several courts for her to be finally granted welfare from the local welfare/ job office. It took three court procedings until a higher court finally found that being in prostitution for a pregnant woman is unconscionable, so that she could receive the money and leave prostitution.
Needless to say, we believe that being in prostitution is „unconscionalbe“ no matter what the circumstances. The pregnant woman’s situation however highlights what legalized and decriminalized buying, brothel-keeping etc. means. Prostitution is understood to be an alternative to joblessness, and welfare money, unemployment money or job training opportunities can be withheld for women in prostitution, even pregnant women, until a court puts a stop to this and finally decides she has a right to live without the abuse that is prostitution.
As is generally the case when it comes to prostitution in Germany, there is a lack of data. While a number of studies exist on the effects of stress and of violence on women and their unborn children, none or very few specifically address the situation in prostitution.
The research paper
Psychosocial Stress, Course of Pregnancy and Pregnancy Outcomes in the Context of the Provision of Sexual Services
seeks to address this by pulling together available data. It is written in English, but by Germans, and the writers (from the field of gynecology) speak of prostitution as „the provision of sexual services“. The conclusions are not to abolish prostitution, but to „make it safer“, in their own words: „There is a need for more research into the future implementation of the Prostitute Protection Act which should focus on health counselling, health promotion and additional protective legislation. Low-threshold healthcare services offered in the context of prenatal care could be an opportunity to improve care.“
We agree on the low-threshold healthcare, of course.
Abolish prostitution now. Get the buyers.