Churches criticise plans of new German coalition on life protection


Central Europe


Acting German Minister of Finance and Social Democratic Party (SPD) top candidate Olaf Scholz (2-L) gestures next to Free Democratic Party (FDP) chairman and faction chairman in the German parliament Bundestag Christian Lindner (L), Green party (Die Gruenen) co-chairwoman and top candidate for the upcoming federal elections Annalena Baerbock (3-L) and Green party (Die Gruenen) co-chairman Robert Habeck (R) during the presentation of the coalition contract in Berlin, Germany, 24 November 2021. Photo EPA, Clemens Bilan

The German "traffic light" coalition wants to delete paragraph 219a out of the penal code and thus lift the ban on advertising abortions. Critical voices against this plan have been raised by the Catholic and Protestant churches in Germany.

For the first time in history, Germany has a coalition of three parties. On Wednesday, the social-democratic SPD, the liberal FDP and the Greens' environmental party presented their coalition agreement two months after the elections.

One of the measures in that agreement is the scrapping of section 219a of the Penal Code. The ban on advertising abortions prohibits offering, announcing, or promoting abortions for financial gain or if advertising is done grossly offensive.

Right to life

The new German government wants to get rid of the provision. "Doctors must be able to give information about termination of pregnancy in public, without having to fear criminal prosecution. That is why we are scrapping paragraph 219a", the statement read.

The Catholic and Protestant churches in Germany have voiced criticism of the planned coalition. "It is deeply and primarily about the essential basic principle of our constitution: the right to life of unborn human beings," said the auxiliary bishop of Augsburg, Anton Losinger, to the German newspaper Welt on Friday. According to the bishop, the focus is on "the right to life" and "the humane face of our society". That face deals with the question of "how it deals with the weakest in our midst".


In a sermon in Regensburg Cathedral, Bishop Voderholzer also criticised the plans of the traffic light coalition on abortion. He further spoke out against euthanasia, Bavarian website BR24 writes. "God wove every human being in the womb of his mother and therefore the unborn child also has the right to life as a human person." Furthermore, he referred to the counselling services offered by Caritas, which "offers every conceivable help, but cannot lend a hand to the worst of all solutions, because it is not a solution to the problem at all, but its elimination".

Voderholzer criticised the idea of the "right to use" active euthanasia. The desired and hoped-for autonomy could very quickly turn into "a hard-core heteronomy, if old and terminally ill people are then blatantly expected to make use of the new progressive rights and henceforth to spare their heirs in the truest sense of the word."

National Socialism

The Plenipotentiary of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany, Prelate Martin Dutzmann, supports the currently valid legislation, website katholisch.de reports. "It takes both seriously: the protection of unborn life and the considerable conflict situations that pregnant women can get into in the course of pregnancy," he said. "It holds that abortion is not solely a question of reproductive self-determination, but affects two lives existentially."

In contrast, the umbrella organisation Protestant Women in Germany welcomes abolition. "We expressly welcome the deletion because it strengthens the reproductive self-determination and autonomy of women," said chairwoman Susanne Kahl-Passoth.

The paragraph 219a dates to National Socialism when population policy was pursued by controlling women's bodies in their function as bearers, and the state claimed sovereignty over life worth living and life not worth living.



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