Protestant Church of Germany in favour of liberalising the abortion law


Central Europe


Counter protesters demonstrate in their own rally near a 'March for Life' rally of the Bundesverband Lebensrecht (BVL), at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Photo EPA, Clemens Bilan

The EKD Council supports the liberalisation of the abortion law. The Protestant Church of Germany argues that early abortions should be removed from the criminal code.

Some terminations pregnancies should not be part of the criminal code, a statement of the EKD Council reads, as reported by Idea. At the same time, the Church is against removing abortion completely from the German penal code. That would go against the State's duty to protect unborn life, the statement continues.

Therefore, the Protestant Church pleads for a "graded deadline concept". That means that the right to life of the unborn child should be weighed more heavily compared to the woman's right to self-determination as the pregnancy progresses. In practice, this type of legislation could take on the form of longer consideration time for pregnant women who are further in their pregnancy. The Council emphasises that this form of legislation should be discussed in more detail, also outside the EKD.


At the same time, the Church’s Council does some suggestions as a guideline. For example, as soon as the child is able to survive outside the womb the criminal code should regulate abortion and only permit it in “clearly defined exceptional cases”, the statement reads. Usually, this is around the 22nd week of the pregnancy.

The EKD Council says to take into account social developments that “are paying greater attention to the perspective of the pregnant woman and her reproductive rights”, Evangelische Zeitung writes.

In any case, the EKD wants to retain the obligation to provide pregnancy counselling, Idea writes. The choice for abortion has "irreversible consequences for the unborn life and the environment of both" woman and child, the Church explains.

Objective debate

The EKD Council does not want to go against women's rights by protecting life but instead strengthen the position of women, says EKD Council Chairwoman Annette Kurschus. According to her, the Church wants to provide an impetus for an objective debate on new regulations on abortion, Evangelisch.de reports.

Society should take more responsibility for protecting unborn life, the Church statement reads. "This corresponds to the convictions of Protestant ethics."

The EKD statement was issued after the Commission for Reproductive Self-Determination and Reproductive Medicine asked for it. The Commission was appointed by the traffic light coalition. Currently, abortion is officially forbidden in Germany and included in its criminal code.


The Protestant Women's Association calls for the abolition of paragraph 218 of the Criminal Code, which bans abortion. Instead, the women plead for a deadline regulation outside the Penal Code, PRO writes. In addition, they plead for covering the abortion fees with healthcare insurance.

The Protestant Women's Association stressed that pregnant women have the right to open-ended and free advice, and the possibilities to get information should be expanded.

The Protestant Women's Association is an umbrella organisation that consists of 37 member organisations and around 3 million members.

The women met on Monday in Hanover, Idea reports. They passed the resolution on the decriminalisation of abortion with an "overwhelming majority."

However, Pro-Life organisations are not pleased. The "Right to Life for All" organisation says to be horrified. Cornelia Kaminski said that the demand for the deletion of paragraph 218 misses "any indication that an abortion affects an unborn child, whose life is thereby extinguished." Kaminski believes that this attitude is "not only highly un-Christian but also inhumane."

In addition, she criticises the call to cover abortion expenses by healthcare insurance. "Because pregnancy is not a disease that can be 'cured' by killing the unborn child."



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

Choose your subscriptions*

You may subscribe to multiple lists.