German Family Minister wants to remove abortion from Criminal Code


Central Europe


participate in a counter demonstration of 'March for Life' demonstration by the Bundesverband Lebensrecht (BVL) at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany. The organisation 'Alliance for Sexual Self-Determination' calls for changing the abolition of criminal codes 218. Paragraph 218 criminalizes those who perform abortions. Photo EPA, Hayoung Jeon

German minister Lisa Paus, responsible for Family Affairs, wants to decriminalise abortion. This decision could have consequences for pro-life demonstrations.

Currently, abortion is regulated by the Criminal Code in Germany. However, Family Minister Paus said in an interview with Funke Media Group that this is wrong. That is reported by PRO. Paus argues that the Criminal Code is not meant to regulate "the "human right to reproductive self-determination." She sees abortion as part of women's rights to decide about their own bodies. By putting abortion in the Criminal Code, women who choose to end their pregnancy are stigmatised, she says.

Therefore, Paus wants to look at the possibilities for abortion regulations outside the penal code. The German government coalition intends to establish a special commission to examine the options.


If abortion is removed from the German Criminal Code, pro-life groups will suffer consequences. According to PRO, their right to demonstrate in front of clinics or advice centres for pregnant women can be limited in the future.

Paus is clear about that. "We’re working to end sidewalk harassment of pregnant women", she said. She could, for example, do so by amending the Pregnancy Conflict Act, which could state that women should have unrestricted access to counselling centres. It is also possible for Paus to draft a new law to make pro-life protests at clinics illegal.

Protected right to life

The political party Christian Social Union is critical of removing abortion from the penal code. Politician Dorothee Bär, deputy parliamentary group leader of the Union, says that the plans are a dam breach in the understanding of human life. She argues that abortion is not only about women's right to self-determination. "Even the unborn child has a constitutionally protected right to life."

Pro-life activist Cornelia Kaminski also critises Minister Paus for her idea. She says that the state cannot just make exceptions to the ban on killing, Die Tagespost reports.

Kaminski is the chairwoman of the pro-life organisation “Aktion Lebensrecht für Alle” (Action right to life for all). According to her, a state ceases to be constitutional when it allows doctors to kill “defenseless and innocent children in the womb at the request of their fathers.”



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