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Abortion: Large majority for early legalization

Abortion: Large majority for early legalization

A commission of experts has presented suggestions on how abortion rights in Germany could be regulated in the future. The traffic lights still shy away from changes. The population’s attitude towards this is clear.

Isn’t the German population so divided when it comes to abortion? The results of a new survey by the opinion research institute Forsa suggest this. In the RTL/n-tv trend barometer, 1001 respondents were asked about their opinion on the legalization of abortions. At 72 percent, more than two thirds of those surveyed were in favor of allowing abortions within the first twelve weeks without restrictions. This was also the recommendation of the commission.

The survey results are clearer than is sometimes portrayed to the public. Politicians in the traffic light coalition are also rather cautious about this issue. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach spoke of a “very important report,” but warned of another “debate that divides society.” Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann did not want to draw any immediate conclusions from the report. He referred to countries like Poland or the USA and warned against debates “that set our society on fire.”

Commission recommends more liberal abortion rights

With a few exceptions, abortions are illegal in this country. According to the RTL/n-tv survey, a majority think this is wrong – regardless of gender, age, religious affiliation and political spectrum. East (81 percent) and West (71 percent) also agree on the question of legalizing abortion in the first twelve weeks.

Based on political interest, Green Party supporters are most likely to be in favor of this early legalization (82 percent). AfD supporters had the lowest score on this question at 55 percent.

The majority of believers also spoke out in favor of legalization. On Monday, however, the Catholic German Bishops’ Conference (DBK) expressed concern about the commission’s recommendations. “We consider the results of the redesign of abortion to be too one-sided,” explained DBK Chairman Bishop Georg Bätzing. In contrast, the current legal situation protects “both the self-determination and health of the woman as well as the unborn child”.

Last year, 18 experts from medicine, psychology, sociology, ethics and law dealt with German abortion law. Their conclusion: “There is a need for a regulation that ensures the legality and impunity of abortions in the early stages,” says the report.

If the coalition were to follow the recommendation, this could mean the end of Section 218 of the Criminal Code. This regulates the ban on abortions in the criminal code. However, a pregnancy can be terminated without penalty up to the twelfth week if those affected can prove that they have had advice and have waited three days. Intervention can be made in the later stages of pregnancy if the physical or mental well-being of the pregnant woman is threatened or if rape resulted in the pregnancy.

Sources:, with information from the news agencies DPA and AFP

Transparency note: The star is part of RTL Deutschland.

Source: Stern

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