German coalition wants to oblige medical student to perform abortion


Central Europe


Healthcare students in training. Photo EPA, Dave Mustaine

The training of medical students is going to be revised. The Federal Government of Germany promises the new curriculum will include the topic of abortion.

And students are not allowed to opt out of this training, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports. The Federal Government stated this in an answer to a Parliamentary question.

According to the coalition, the new study catalogue includes learning objectives that describe "knowledge of how to act and justify medical and surgical abortion." In addition, licensing regulations for doctors may also include "medical, legal and ethical aspects of abortion" to be the subject of clinical examination material.

The Federal Representation of Medical Students had already called for a measure like this, PRO writes. They stressed that it is important for doctors to learn how to perform an abortion during their studies. Until now, medical faculties could decide whether they wanted to include the practice in their curriculum.


Pro-life groups are very critical of the plan, Die Tagespost reports. "Providing even more opportunities to kill unborn children before they are born is obviously one of the federal government's biggest concerns", says Cornelia Kaminski, chairwoman of the organisation "Action for the Right to Life for All."

Kaminski believes that the obligation to learn how to perform an abortion ensures that no one can refuse to carry out the practice "citing a lack of specialist knowledge."

She points out that forcing medical students to perform an abortion goes against the Hippocratic Oath. "Medical action is always aimed at curing illnesses, protecting and preserving life, but never at carrying out acts of killing." Kaminski also believes that this obligation violates the European Convention on Human Rights, which ensures freedom of conscience.

The chairwoman worries that students, even if they oppose abortion, feel they have no choice but to follow the curriculum. She points out that the medical study is "extremely hard work." And if anyone refuses to perform an abortion, he or she will not be able to continue the study, and all previous efforts will have been in vain, Kaminski says.


The Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost strongly opposes the plan of the coalition as well. It calls it a “perversion of the medical profession”.

According to Die Tagespost, "a profession that has no problems with killing defenceless and innocent patients is expected to do anything else. Doctors who kill discredit the entire profession", bio-ethicist Stefan Rehder writes in the comment. "If the state today sees it as its task to free unwanted pregnant women from defenceless and innocent children, why should it not consider it its duty tomorrow to relieve the working population by "redeeming" the sick and those in need of care?"

Skill of killing

The Christian Democrats for Life are also outraged. "It is a scandal that the federal government wants to force people who choose a profession to rescue lives to learn how they can kill unborn children", President Susanne Wenzel says. "Instead of thinking how the growing number of abortions can be reduced, our government thinks about how it can force each physician to practice the "skill" of killing," Wenzel emphasises that the German criminal code still specifies that abortion is a criminal offence and is only allowed under certain circumstances. "Where is the freedom of conscience?" she asks. Wenzel worries that "fewer and fewer people will be able to choose for a medical study, and Germany will have fewer and fewer doctors."


In addition to the obligation for medical students to learn how to perform an abortion, the Federal Government also wants a ban on pro-life demonstrators protesting in front of abortion clinics or pregnancy counselling centres.



Subscribe for an update, and receive a documentary and e-book for free.

Choose your subscriptions*

You may subscribe to multiple lists.