EKD applauds decriminalisation of abortion; the world upside down



Daniela Städter, IDEA

A protester holds up a sign reading "My Body my choice- the right to abortion" during a demonstration against violence against women. Photo AFP, John Macdougall

The EKD wants to make abortions easier - and a church newspaper applauds that development. A secular daily newspaper and a professor of secular law must remind the Christian institutions what their mission would be — a commentary by IDEA director Daniela Städter.

The Green Family Minister Lisa Paus wants to make abortions easier - and the Protestant Church eagerly serves as her helper. The Council of the Protestant Church in Germany (EKD) said in a statement that it could imagine regulating abortions outside criminal law up to the 22nd week of pregnancy. The diaconal body of the Church, Diakonie, went even further a few days later: it wants to abolish compulsory counselling before an abortion. The umbrella organisation of Protestant Women in Germany even calls for the complete abolition of paragraph 218 of the German criminal code, which criminalises abortion.

In Protestant church newspapers, such as "Unsere Kirche" (UK/Bielefeld), there is resounding applause for this. "Such an important and correct signal!" is one comment. The reasons given are as follows: "The Protestant Women are thus taking the side of women in Germany and strengthening their rights." And further: "In times when women's rights are eroding again in many places, this encouragement is all the more important."

As a German reader, one rubs one's eyes in wonder and asks oneself where exactly women's rights are "eroding" in this country. The author's worrying reference to the USA does not make the argument any more convincing. The situation there is simply not comparable to that in Germany. In this country, there is nothing to suggest that Paragraph 218 could be tightened and abortions made more difficult. In our country, about 100,000 children are already killed in the womb every year. The right-to-life movement is on the defensive, as it has not been for decades. If anything is eroding in Germany, it is the right to life of unborn children.

Killing of unborn children

It is left to a secular newspaper to point out the shameful fact about the Protestant Church and its Diakonie: That their positions on the killing of unborn children are entirely devoid of theology and God. And that the new Protestant positions on this issue are "polarising-one-sided". The Catholic social ethicist Elmar Nass revealed another weak point: The EKD's proposal no longer focuses on the protection of life.

Its ethical compass is rather the sought-after harmony with social developments and new insights. Such an ethics, which wants to clarify ethical questions in an open-ended way, makes itself superfluous, Nass told the Catholic News Agency (KNA): "Let's not fool ourselves: If the EKD still holds on to the obligation to consult, it is only a snapshot, which will be sacrificed to social consensus in the foreseeable future, just as large parts of the evaluation of criminal law are now."


Christian Hillgruber, an expert in constitutional law from Bonn, also pointed out to the EKD and Diakonie that the liberalisation they were demanding would be unjust. A regulation of abortions outside of criminal law is not possible, the Protestant told KNA. This is because a minimum level of due protection must not be fallen short of: "This includes that abortion for the entire duration of pregnancy is fundamentally regarded as wrong and is accordingly prohibited by law." As the Federal Constitutional Court has already clearly stated, the use of criminal law and its protective effect cannot be dispensed with.

Fortunately, there is also opposition within the church – for example, from the "Ecumenical Working Group of Protestant and Catholic Theologians" (ÖAK), the Conference of Confessing Communities and the theologically conservative "Christ Movement Living Church" in Württemberg. It is to be hoped that many inner-church, pietist, evangelical and free-church associations and Christians will express their views before the EKD Synod meets in Ulm on 12 November. So, the impression does not solidify that pro-abortion statements reflect the attitude of all Christians.

This article was translated by CNE.news and published by the German press agency IDEA on October 25, 2023



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