German Family Minister wants to reform abortion law


Central Europe


Photo EPA, Hayoung Jeon

The German Family Minister Lisa Paus speaks about a "need for reform" in abortion regulation since it is in the Criminal Code. German Catholics, meanwhile, debate whether abortion is compatible with the Catholic faith.

Family Minister Lisa Paus recently announced changes to the legal regulations on abortion. She did so in an interview with the news platform T-Online. There, she says that a commission will investigate removing paragraph 218 of the Criminal Code. This paragraph makes abortion illegal, but not punishable, in the first trimester of the pregnancy. According to Paus, a reform of this paragraph is needed.

Paus also reacted to the Roe v Wade ruling in the United States. According to her, the decision of the US Supreme Court is primarily "at the expense of women's health". She also sees this development in the USA as a warning for Germany: "We have to take the political disenchantment of some people seriously and make good laws." In Germany, too, democracy is "not in the best shape," Paus warned.


Last week, the president of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), Irme Stetter-Karp, called for the "intervention of an abortion to be allowed across the board". This is currently not the case. Especially in rural areas, it is difficult to get an abortion.

The more conservative association 'Maria 1.0' called these statements an "anti-Catholic position". According to a statement of the association, it is shocking that "one of the highest representatives of functional Catholicism so explicitly opposes the official teachings of the Catholic Church on the sensitive and important subject of 'protection of life'"

According to Clara Steinbrecher, director of Maria 1.0, since 1999, Stetter-Karp has openly positioned herself against the Catholic Church's clear "no" to abortion. At the time, the current president of the ZdK was co-founder of the association Donum Vitae, which offers pregnancy counselling and - in contrast to the official Catholic counselling centres - also issues counselling vouchers that allow for a penalty-free abortion.


The ZdK is the highest body of social Catholicism in the Federal Republic of Germany. It represents the Catholic lay faithful in the formation of public opinion and is the body recognised by the German Bishops' Conference for coordinating the commitment of the laity to the Church. However, not all lay people feel well represented by the ZdK.

Maria 1.0 is a reaction of orthodox Catholics to the liberal Maria 2.0 under the motto: 'Maria does not need an update'. Maria 2.0 is a women's organisation that argues for opening all church offices to women and for far-reaching changes to Catholic teaching on sexuality and gender.



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